Album Review: Washed Out-Paracosm


I have a confession. It is really hard for me to say, for I am a proud man, and I do not like to admit when I am wrong. And not only does this confession wholly place me in the realm of wrong, but to use a pride analogy like a boss, my honour has been ripped from the status of Ancient Chinese Emperor to common Roman pleb. Here it goes: I didn’t like the first Washed Out album. Shocking, I know. But, in my defence, my 15 year old tastes were more suited to the likes of Metallica’s ‘St. Anger’ and Marilyn Manson’s ‘Antichrist Superstar’. Long live shitty metal amirite? Right? C’mon guys, Slipknot are still a relevant band! Guys?

However, I HAVE GROWN. My musical taste has expanded beyond Theory of a Deadman, A Day to Remember and Three Days Grace. I’m finally within my wits to accept the forthright genius of chillwave, and it’s youthful master Ernest Green aka Washed Out. And just in time for his second, absolutely delicious sophomore album ‘Paracosm’. (For anyone that gives a shit, the song that really got me into Washed Out was ‘New Theory’, off the ‘Life of Leisure’ EP. That song is straight godly)

Onwards, to victory! ‘Paracosm’ is a beautifully naturalistic album, full of the kinds of hidden wonders and green intricacies of the Amazonian rain forest. It contains plenty of fluid motion and washed gulping refreshment in every song that is plastered across it sweet nine tracks. The whole thing is like a strawberry-pineapple crossbred fruit-vibrant, a little unusual, and fucking delicious. ‘Paracosm’ is one of the best albums of recent hearing memory because it’s a psychedelic, chilled electronic mix that hits every point of awesome on the colour wheel of amazing. Blue, green, red, orange, yellow, pink, mothafuckin’ gamboge…everything is chucked in, mixed well and popped out to sound well beyond orgasmic.

Although not the standout on the record, lead single ‘It All Feels Right’ seems like where I should start when explaining the legendary-ness of ‘Paracosm’. After the godly opening of ‘Entrance’, the listener emerges from Disney’s Tiki Room, and immediately starts tip-toing across step-stones to a chocolate fountain. Sound wonderfully weird? It’s about to get weirder. Green’s voice hazes over the track as strings cascade like a goddamn champagne flute, little taps resounding over and over in the listener’s brain cells, forcing you to fall deeper and deeper in love with the sounds of chill wave. ‘It All Feels Right’ is legit the sound of a flower blossoming. But that’s not enough. Washed Out keeps you hooked, easily transitioning to the chilled-party-with-all-your-best-friends vibe of ‘Don’t Give Up’. Fucking glorious man. Washed Out is like the N.W.A of naturalistic post-dubstep dream electro. Juxtaposition, I KNOW, but what’s literature for if not to be broken. It’s what Ice Cube would have wanted.

The good times, classic hits don’t stop there. Groove into the luscious canopy of ‘All I Know’ to hang out with some pot-smoking folk-rave loving 80’s hippies, or dive into the cool lagoon of ‘Paracosm’ to hang out with mermaids and dolphins. Poseidon’s even at the party, playing the harp whilst simultaneously doing coke off a dugong’s phallus. It’s a sight to behold, but can only be accessed through ‘Paracosm’. And I’m not even touching upon the holy ground of ‘Falling Back’, which illustrates lucid dreaming via harmonious synth, pitter-patter percussion and angelic vocalisation. Holy shit, has a song ever made you cry before? Well, ‘Falling Back’ can help you achieve that.

Going through Washed Out’s ‘Paracosm’ for the first time reminds me of the time I first heard The Avalanches, or Beach House, or even Toro Y Moi to a lesser extent. Just those wholesome, realised sounds of musicians knowing exactly what they are doing, exactly how to do it, and seeing their work come to fruition. Heavenly sounds that transport the listener to an emotional and vivid place, now that’s a rare thing to come across in music. It really cannot be overstated how well this album has been made and performed. ‘Paracosm’ has become one of my favourite albums of the year, along with FIDLAR, POND and Kurt Vile. Yep, it’s that good, and I would stake my phone plan to say that it’s not going to dull in vibrancy any time soon. Go and buy it here at Sub Pop. 


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