Album Review: Washed Out, Paracosm

The dictionary definition of a paracosm is a prolonged fantasy world invented by children; a vivid self-created world with its own geography and language and history. Whilst he’s not gone full Tolkien on us, one man band Ernest Greene has certainly crafted a signature aesthetic, taking his cues from the melancholic electronica of Moby and the youthful vibes of John Hughes movies.

This Peter Pan-like fantasy world is built on languid ambiances and laid back trip-hop rhythms that sound crafted to soundtrack a hazy summer evening. Never the strongest singer, Greene is at his most compelling when you let the music wash over you in waves, replicating the lysergic mood music of his critically acclaimed debut Within and Without.

There are signs he’s branching out from his chillwave roots though, when the narcotic grooves are leavened with brushed acoustic guitar on ‘Paracosm’, or an unexpected burst of fiddle briefly threatens to usurp ‘All I Know’. In the grand scheme of things it’s not a dramatic reinvention but as peers like Best Coast struggle to move on from their zeitgeisthumping debuts, it’s a step in the right direction. ‘All Over Now’ is a far-cry from Stoneslike swagger but as the warm oceans of synth fade away you’re more than happy to slip into Ernest Greene’s world for a little while.

[Max Sefton]

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