With the newly invigorated penchant for white blazers, gold jewellery and spongy slip-on loafers infecting many a callow youth these days it’s no wonder the universe has vomited up the soundtrack to match it. The hazy melodic pop classicism of this year’s golden boy Twin Shadow, and now the arrival of the equally fugged-up debut album from Washed Out, is the accompanying score of the Blank Generation.
It’s a Bret Easton Ellis novel come to life, the bleached-out white noise to accompany the conveyor belt of shopping, snorting, fucking and general poolside narcissism. The billboard that displays ‘Disappear Here’ in Less Than Zero would make as fitting a sleeve as the tangled bedsheets inhabited by the rutting American Apparel couple. For this is essentially what the sound of Washed Out is; it’s the wave of beautiful nothingness that lolls and laps over your senses. From the first cloud-breaking reverberation of ‘Eyes Be Closed’ to the final echoing drone of ‘A Dedication’ it weaves through the brain like a melodic Spirograph, looping around and around in a blissful haze before dissolving from your consciousness without a trace.
Whereas 2009’s Life Of Leisure EP fizzed and popped with memorable chiming and playful keyboard hooks, Within And Without delves into a more nocturnal atmosphere. It still retains the candy floss pleasure of old, but now with the empty sugar coma attached. With his ethereal vocals and one tone delivery, it sometimes proves difficult to distinguish one track from the next. Apart from the melodica-infused Italo wonder of ‘Amor Fati’ and thunderous opener ‘Eyes Be Closed’, it can often become a homogeneous chill-wave lump, like a whitey you may never recover from.
Within And Without is the feeling of adjusting your eyes to the interior darkness after squinting through the summer sunshine. A silky,sexily-crafted but ultimately vacant screensaver for beachside navel gazing of the Pitchfork variety.