Four years after the synthed-out explosion of Washed Out’s “Feel It All Around,” front-man Ernest Greene is asking us to ‘feel’ it once again on his second full-length album, Paracosm. Pioneer of the hipster-coined genre “chillwave,” Greene mastered the lo-fi, laptop-pop sound with his debut album, Within and Without, by using heavy synthesizers and shoegaze vocals. In his newest album, Greene refuses the redundancy of the fading chillwave sound by taking elements of previous material and transforming it to create a psychedelic daydream in tracks such as “It All Feels Right.”
Greene relocated to Athens, Georgia with his wife and built a fully equipped recording studio in his home, where him and his band mates spend most of their time making new music. Co-producer Ben Allen, who helped with their first album, returned to assist creating a different approach for Paracosm. Although the swooning synths seem similar to his debut album, Greene tried focusing on how a particular sound affects the memory.
Paracosm means a fantasy, an imaginary world often created by children. Washed Out’s newest album is meant to serve as a narrative and take listeners on a journey, transporting them to another place.
The use of acoustic- based instruments, such as sitars and marimbas, brings magical warmth to the album and allows the audience to escape reality for 45 minutes. Greene manages to pay more attention to melodic detail with Washed Out’s latest release Paracosm, owning his signature sound and proving that he is indeed a niche artist.
Reviewed by Darby Dupre