Washed Out is back with a brand-new offering, Paracosm, which finds Ernest Greene dispensing another dose of sun-soaked synths, ambient hooks, digital beats and reverbed melodies that cling to you like smoke. If Within and Without sounded like music made to be played in a dentist office, cold and lifeless. Paracosm is the music you’d play while lying happily in the grass, or hanging out with your besties, or living life with no cares or cavities. It feels warmer, more organic, less processed and, as a result, more sophisticated.
The second album from Washed Out opens with “Entrance” the gentle birdsong of a dawn chorus before it’s joined by tinkling vibes, a skirl of harp and a burst of celestial voices. This moment is like opening the wardrobe to discover Narnia. Tracks like “It All Feels Right” or “Great Escape” have a sticky sweet center and sound the way sunscreen smells, “Falling Back” rolls past on cresting waves of hazy sound, and the rest of the album lives up to the title of the most relaxed and dreamlike song here, “Weightless.” This album is where Greene puts it all together and lives up to the promise of his early, sound-defining hit “Feel It All Around” by taking his chillwave somewhere sunny and life affirming.
Paracosm is a beautiful, beautiful album. It shows growth in Greene’s songwriting. While his past releases are something to behold in their own right, they don’t possess the same freedom that Paracosm has. The album is free to meander and unwind without restriction, no longer assigned to just digital compositions. The songs bend and weave and blur into one another. They reshape the mold without ever breaking it. But in its very best moments, Paracosm works as a stunning reminder as to why, perhaps, some of us find chillwave to be so uniquely addictive and therefore worth segregating from other forms of music: it’s a celebration of life, and a bitter reminder that our best days may have long passed us by. (Text Teuku Ajie)
3. It All Feels Right
4. Falling Back
5. Great Escape
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