Washed Out Paracosm

Washed Out Paracosm
7
After capitalizing on the hype built by breakout EP Life of Leisure, Washed Out's Ernest Greene released the more dance-focused Within & Without for Sub Pop in 2011. It was a satisfying, if a little disjointed, debut; Greene was unsure of the direction he wanted Washed Out to take and struggled to find a cohesive narrative for the album to follow. With Paracosm, Greene has found steady footing that balances his electronic compositions with a lush, psychedelic palette that, at times, evokes the Flaming Lips more than former chillwave peers Small Black and Toro Y Moi. Sun-dappled first single "It All Feels Right" acts as a beacon for Paracosm's more straightforward songwriting approach, which incorporates more conventional song structures and acoustic/analog instruments than the loop-focused Within. Greene's compositions are longer on Paracosm, so melancholic numbers like "Weightless," "Great Escape" and the album's title track are difficult to distinguish from one another. However, that's also one of the album's greatest strengths: Paracosm floats by like a wonderful dream, from which only the most jaded music fan would wish to awaken. (Sub Pop)