Review: Washed Out – Paracosm
Published on August 16th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Washed Out is the moniker of Georgia-based producer/multi-instrumentalist Ernest Greene, Paracosm is his second album; and there you have it. No long-winded, fancy pants intros around here.
“Entrance” provides Paracosm with a more ornate, er, entrance, and it does its job wonderfully: swirling harp, sweet siren song…it’s like we’re on some divine beach and we’re being assured that we don’t have to move any time soon.
The ensuing “It All Feels Right” keeps up the slack, still sounding every bit as enchanting as it did when we described it thusly in a recent singles round-up:
“Ooh, bask in all those lovely colours and that gorgeous, shimmering psychedelia. Drape it over an agreeable loping groove, throw in some disorientingly effected vocals and synths, and it’s another triumph for the historic Sub Pop label.
From its opening swirl of harp to its closing swirl of chattering voices – bookended by swirls, how lovely – it’s a surefire mood-brightener. We shall have to investigate further.”
As you can see, we were looking forward to checking out the album. Unfortunately, what it lays on is by and large a procession of diminishing returns.
Paracosm remains on the beach, but somehow the magic wears off amidst a deluge of pleasantly rushing but all-too-unremarkable chillwave. It’s nice and all, but the nostalgia implied by its sepia-tinted synth work might be more evocative had it not become so ubiquitous over the last few years.
In other words, Washed Out had to come up with a different take on it all, and he hasn’t quite managed it.
“Great Escape” bubbles in nicely before lapsing into more of the same, while the luxurious swirls (there’s that word again) of shimmering harp across the title track make an impact…but Paracosm doesn’t feel particularly stirring again until penultimate track “Falling Back”, which somehow seems to ‘swell’ with more feeling.
Don’t get us wrong; we do quite like what we hear on Paracosm. The problem is that we also quite liked it all the times that we’ve heard it before.
Paracosm is out now on Domino.
Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!