As summer begins to wind down, there are still many highly-anticipated releases waiting in the queue (Earl Sweatshirt! Franz Ferdinand! No Age!). Undoubtedly, Washed Out’s Paracosm is one of these releases, but its entrance has been far quieter than some. Thus far, Ernest Greene has proven well-suited to the genre to which he’s been ascribed– chillwave– because as Washed Out, his sounds are always warm, but never fiery. They evoke that perfect late summer feeling– a gentle afternoon breeze, a drifting, hazy sun– that we’re all going to miss dearly in about two weeks time. But with Paracosm, Washed Out will keep that summer feeling alive well past August, and beyond.
Whereas 2011 debut Within and Without embraced a darker, nighttime-is-the-right-time sort of sound, the vibe on Paracosm is light, airy, and tailor-made for basking in the sun. The album commences via barely-audible synth shimmers, a delicate harp, and chirping birds; “Entrance” later floats into “It All Feels Right,” which couldn’t be a truer statement. On Paracosm, each track drifts gently into the next, like traveling peacefully from dream to dream during an afternoon nap in the shade.
Greene’s vocals are enchanting throughout, particularly on “Don’t Give Up,” where his voice is cushioned by layers upon layer of carefully-planned sonic texture. No song on Paracosm ever strays far from the descriptions of “sleepy” or “dreamy,” but “All I Know” comes close; warped, moody, and slightly more upbeat, a driving guitar rhythm helps craft an exciting album standout.
When Paracosm suffers, it’s from lack of diversity, but mostly, the album’s just a glowing example of electro-pop glory. As Greene sings of good vibes and warm, gooey feelings– with an earnestness that keeps the schmaltz to a minimum– you can’t help but ride the wave of emotion right along with him. Paracosm is endless summer in album form; the perfect vessel for keeping all those good feelings afloat.