Washed Out – Life Of Leisure EP (Mexican Summer) 14/06/2010

May 24, 2010 by  

Neon Indian’s success last year now brings a wave of new talent on the nostalgic chill wave or dream wave scene – whatever you want to call it. Ernest Greene, the young man behind the name Washed Out, is definitely one of the pioneers of the genre, together with the likes of Small Black and Toro Y Moi. Life of Leisure is the second release from Washed Out, but this is the first one to be widely distributed, seeing as the first one, High Times, was a cassette-only release released in 2009.

The EP is a dreamy affair, with fuzzed out filtered vocals and bedroom production, but it’s also surprisingly upbeat, with some pretty danceable moments. ‘Get Up’, the opening track, is one of those danceable moments. It has a great funked up ’80s beat and a likable chorus, and the bouncy percussion makes this one of the more upbeat songs on the EP.

‘New Theory’ takes it down a notch, over a bitter-sweet bass line Ernest Greene sings “your choice was right, no chance to be there now”. It’s a beautiful song, revolving around Greene’s trademark filtered dreamy vocals. He experiments a lot on this EP, but he never deviates from this style of vocals. ‘Hold Out’ continues in the same manner, an exciting disco beat with the usual filtered vocals over it.

The highlight of the EP is lead single ‘Feel It All Around’. It’s a song meant to be played late at night on the warmest day of the year. The thick like syrup synth beat makes you bop your head and the chorus is easy to hum along to. Unfortunately the EP doesn’t end as well as it starts out. ‘Lately’ and ‘You’ll See It’ are the most anonymous tracks on the record. ‘Lately’ is too dominated by Greene’s hazy vocals, and it doesn’t end up going anywhere in my opinion.

Washed Out has made a successful attempt of making something new out of something old. Mixing together all kinds of sounds from the past decades – ’80s synth pop, lo-fi and even some disco beats – he has created something new and fresh. It has a warm summery feel and could definitely be the soundtrack of your summer. It’s clear that Ernest Greene is still experimenting with his sound, and he doesn’t always get it right. It will be exciting to see where he goes after this, when he eventually releases a full length album.