"Within and Without" by Washed Out

Washed Out
Within and Without

Sub Pop Records
2011

Review

Washed Out's "Within and Without" got promoted heavily by more than a few Independent Rock outlets. It was even on a few top 10 lists this year. I like that Independent Rock, so I picked it up. Then I was confused. It's not really "Rock" at all. It's more akin to mid-tempo Electronic fare from folks like Moby. In fact, I'm pretty sure that if you love Moby you'll probably love this as well because it's basically a Moby record. So ignore the promotion and know that this album is for mid-tempo electronic fiends.

The vocals on this entire album are underwhelming to me. They occupy this strange space between being completely ambient and being basically Small Sins. I kept dreaming that the album was actually a Hip-Hop record. In fact, I spent a lot of time amusing myself in traffic by dropping some terrible freestyles over these here "beats". So what's here was compelling enough to keep me interested...at least until the last three tracks of the album that just didn't do anything for me. However, the remainder of the tracks are saved by either great or brilliant production. Personally, I could do without the vocals (better if we can take these beats and mash them up with some MC that would be completely out of left field - I'm thinking Too $hort).

If mid-tempo electronic/semi-ambient fare is what butters your bread, then check out "Echoes", "Soft", and "Far Away". Specifically, listen to "Far Away" which is a beautiful song that made me think of Thom Yorke's "The Eraser" (if a song from that album had been remixed by Small Sins).

4.000 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. Eyes Be Closed (04:49) 4
2. Echoes (04:10) 5
3. Amor Fati (04:28) 4
4. Soft (05:33) 5
5. Far Away (04:02) 5
6. Before (04:48) 4
7. You and I (05:15) 3
8. Within and Without (03:34) 3
9. A Dedication (04:17) 3