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Washed Out - Purple Noon

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Purple Noon

Washed Out

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After two albums that took the basic Washed Out template of gentle bedroom pop and expanded it in interesting ways, 2020's Purple Noon finds Ernest Greene back in familiar territory. There is none of the widescreen '90s-inspired shoegaze that made 2013's Paracosm a delight, or any of the cut-up hip hop-inspired samples that gave 2017's Mister Mellow some bounce. Instead, the album feels like a polished, sonically boosted follow-up to the first Washed Out album Within and Without. As on that record, the mood here is subdued, the instrumentation muted, and Greene's vocals hover on the edge of slumber as the songs roll into each other like connected dreams. It's an immersive listening experience with one mood -- melancholy -- that's explored over and over until the listener is enveloped in a wave of torpor as the synths swell and bubble, echoing vocal harmonies swirl, and the drum machines tap out rhythms like far-away SOS calls. It's easy to get lost in the gentleness of the mix and wake up 40 minutes after hitting play, slightly dazed and wondering where the time went. It's not a record built around songs, hooks, or tracks to be extracted and plopped in the middle of a playlist. Purple Noon is an old-school album, meant to be listened to in one sitting so the mood can't be broken. It may not be the kind of feeling someone would want to be in everyday, but when something quiet, sad, and a little cloudy is called for, this will certainly do the trick. That said, there are a few moments where melodies and subtle hooks threaten to make a deep impression. The almost peppy "Too Late" kicks the album off with stuttering rhythms, nicely fat-sounding synths, and a huge chorus where Greene's vocals almost cut through the murk, "Paralyzed" mixes a pretty, swaying melody with a nice late-night R&B feel, and "Hide" is a laid-back synth pop track that sounds like New Order after swallowing a bottle full of sleeping pills. Apart from these songs, the rest of the record mostly floats on vaguely disinterested clouds and by the end, it's hard not to be disappointed that Greene has backtracked. After releasing a couple albums that showed the Washed Out sound could be altered in interesting ways, coming back with something that's textbook chillwave can't help but be a letdown, no matter how pretty and soothing it can be.
© Tim Sendra /TiVo

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Purple Noon

Washed Out

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1
Too Late
00:04:12

Ben H. Allen III, Mixer - Ernest Greene, Composer, Producer - Washed Out, MainArtist - Ben Etter, Engineer

© 2020 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2020 Sub Pop Records

2
Face Up
00:04:08

Ben H. Allen III, Mixer - Ernest Greene, Composer, Producer - Washed Out, MainArtist - Ben Etter, Engineer

© 2020 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2020 Sub Pop Records

3
Time to Walk Away
00:04:15

Ben H. Allen III, Mixer - Ernest Greene, Composer, Producer - Washed Out, MainArtist - Ben Etter, Engineer

© 2020 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2020 Sub Pop Records

4
Paralyzed
00:03:21

Ben H. Allen III, Mixer - Ernest Greene, Composer, Producer - Washed Out, MainArtist - Ben Etter, Engineer

© 2020 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2020 Sub Pop Records

5
Reckless Desires
00:04:24

Ben H. Allen III, Mixer - Ernest Greene, Composer, Producer - Washed Out, MainArtist - Ben Etter, Engineer

© 2020 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2020 Sub Pop Records

6
Game of Chance
00:04:11

Ben H. Allen III, Mixer - Ernest Greene, Composer, Producer - Washed Out, MainArtist - Ben Etter, Engineer

© 2020 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2020 Sub Pop Records

7
Leave You Behind
00:03:52

Ben H. Allen III, Mixer - Ernest Greene, Composer, Producer - Washed Out, MainArtist - Ben Etter, Engineer

© 2020 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2020 Sub Pop Records

8
Don't Go
00:05:20

Ben H. Allen III, Mixer - Ernest Greene, Composer, Producer - Washed Out, MainArtist - Ben Etter, Engineer

© 2020 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2020 Sub Pop Records

9
Hide
00:03:27

Ben H. Allen III, Mixer - Ernest Greene, Composer, Producer - Washed Out, MainArtist - Ben Etter, Engineer

© 2020 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2020 Sub Pop Records

10
Haunt
00:05:10

Ben H. Allen III, Mixer - Ernest Greene, Composer, Producer - Washed Out, MainArtist - Ben Etter, Engineer

© 2020 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2020 Sub Pop Records

Album Description

After two albums that took the basic Washed Out template of gentle bedroom pop and expanded it in interesting ways, 2020's Purple Noon finds Ernest Greene back in familiar territory. There is none of the widescreen '90s-inspired shoegaze that made 2013's Paracosm a delight, or any of the cut-up hip hop-inspired samples that gave 2017's Mister Mellow some bounce. Instead, the album feels like a polished, sonically boosted follow-up to the first Washed Out album Within and Without. As on that record, the mood here is subdued, the instrumentation muted, and Greene's vocals hover on the edge of slumber as the songs roll into each other like connected dreams. It's an immersive listening experience with one mood -- melancholy -- that's explored over and over until the listener is enveloped in a wave of torpor as the synths swell and bubble, echoing vocal harmonies swirl, and the drum machines tap out rhythms like far-away SOS calls. It's easy to get lost in the gentleness of the mix and wake up 40 minutes after hitting play, slightly dazed and wondering where the time went. It's not a record built around songs, hooks, or tracks to be extracted and plopped in the middle of a playlist. Purple Noon is an old-school album, meant to be listened to in one sitting so the mood can't be broken. It may not be the kind of feeling someone would want to be in everyday, but when something quiet, sad, and a little cloudy is called for, this will certainly do the trick. That said, there are a few moments where melodies and subtle hooks threaten to make a deep impression. The almost peppy "Too Late" kicks the album off with stuttering rhythms, nicely fat-sounding synths, and a huge chorus where Greene's vocals almost cut through the murk, "Paralyzed" mixes a pretty, swaying melody with a nice late-night R&B feel, and "Hide" is a laid-back synth pop track that sounds like New Order after swallowing a bottle full of sleeping pills. Apart from these songs, the rest of the record mostly floats on vaguely disinterested clouds and by the end, it's hard not to be disappointed that Greene has backtracked. After releasing a couple albums that showed the Washed Out sound could be altered in interesting ways, coming back with something that's textbook chillwave can't help but be a letdown, no matter how pretty and soothing it can be.
© Tim Sendra /TiVo

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