Music Review: Washed Out- ‘Paracosm’

There simply isn’t a better album for a warm, sunny summer afternoon than the collection of songs you’ll find in Paracosm by American singer-songwriter Ernest Greene, better known as Washed Out. With a perpetually dreamlike mixture of soft guitar and lush synth melodies throughout, nearly every one of the tracks found in Greene’s second album is a rich, heady exploration of sound, rhythm, and emotion.

Born in 1983, Greene struggled for some time to find a job post-graduation and took a creative turn, assembling his own home-studio equipment and spreading his music through social media in a day before Facebook and Twitter (we’re talking Myspace, here). He was soon signed and hitting Billboard music charts in both the UK and the US.

Simply put, Paracosm is charming indie synth-pop. Far from a one-note album, its spectrum ranges from upbeat, jaunty rhythm and bass (‘All I Know’ and the single ‘It All Feels Right’) to the irresistibly mellow and meandering ‘Weightless.’ Those aren’t the only stand out tracks, either. Nearly every song has a rich texture to it, with vibrant strings and synth melodies alongside traditional guitar, soft vocals, and any number of catchy indie music staples.

In some ways, it’s easier to feel the songs than listen to them. Unsurprisingly, Paracosm is ideal for a laid-back weekend in the sun or on the road, as many of the emotional highs come from the unending stream of drowsy synth and vocals with the energy of the drum track keeping anyone from getting too sleepy. Also of note is the song length. Many of the tracks found in Paracosm feel much shorter than their average five-plus minute runtime. Weird.

Paracosmis a great album in many ways: it’s poppy, upbeat, introspective, and relaxed (perfect for those warm lakeside weekends or countryside cruises). You can find Paracosm in all the usual places like iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify, so give the album a go. It’s great.

Zach Scheffler likes music of all kinds. Serving as music director on the campus radio staff, Zach is more than happy to talk about music on Twitter (@wobblygiant). If you’d like to get your favorite music on WIUV 91.3FM, send him a nice tweet or two – he’d love that.

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