Washed Out, anything but.
A couple of people have commented on my being a lyrically driven music listener. To an extent it’s true; sometimes you need someone else to say the words you want to hear. Take country music for example. I don’t know how I would have made it through my last big breakup without Willie Nelson’s classic “Red Headed Stranger” album. And, as a writer, of course I am drawn more towards music with poetry, part of the reason I love me some hip hop. Sometimes you need the words.
Not so with Washed Out’s new album, “Within and Without”. Sure, there’s a vocal in there somewhere, but it is only technically a vocal by virtue of the fact that it’s produced by a human voice – it could just as easily be another instrument or effect. Much like adding a pinch of salt to a recipe, the minimal use of this breezy voice (real name; Ernest Greene) adds so much to an incredible piece of work.
Evidence is rampant throughout the album, but for a real pleasure you’ll want to listen to “Far Away”, a track that I noted half a dozen instruments varying from glockenspiel to violin to some sort of beat that almost sounds like a shred on a muted electric guitar. The layering in “Amor Fati” and “You and I” will make you feel warm during this “summer” we’re having here on the Wet Coast, and “A Dedication” has a morose, Ben Folds style that you’ll savour.
So what if I like my lyrics, I know good music when I hear it. Greene’s delivery is spot-on, with drawn out syllables that only add to the mix. Pick this up, it came out last week on Subpop. No need to say “thank you”.