The end products, discovered on his MySpace page by excited bloggers, established Washed Out as a distinct house beat-driven sub-style in chillwave, contemporary to the likes of Toro Y Moi and Neon Indian. They also earned Greene a deal with Sub Pop.
So not long after the former dropped his excellent “Underneath the Pine” and Alan Palomo’s dalliances with The Flaming Lips, Greene has returned to the electronic spotlight with “Within and Without”, his debut LP assisted by Animal Collective producer Ben Allen (recent résumé spots include AC’s “Merriweather Post Pavillion” and Deerhunter’s “Halcyon Digest”).
Much to Greene’s credit, “Within and Without” retains his bedroom releases’ most distinct quality: their edge-less, lo-fi laptop approach to song construction. Each track here is anchored by a simple, steady-as-she-goes house beat and plodding bass that are covered with bleached sheet synths and whispery vocals that never really soar or even solidly manifest. They surround.
The beats hit hardest on the title track, eventually giving out to an electronic pitter-pattering fadeout, suggestive of raindrops on a lake. “Far Away” distinguishes itself here with some really intimate, murky lyrics evocative of a lo-fi take on The xx.
“Within and Without” adheres pretty strictly to chillwave’s modus operandi: looping, ’80s-influenced synth samples; moderate to high danceability; and lyrics so shoegazey that your two feet blur and twist into a single, liquid entity. —Matt Carney
And p.s. the album drops tomorrow, but if you hurry you can still stream it over at NPR Music.