Within and Without lacks a centralized signature tune like Life of Leisure’s infectious “Feel It All Around”- which acted as that EP’s undisputed anchor. This time, Greene opts for a more cohesive model. While the tracks here do not necessarily flow together unbroken, each song builds into the next forming what feels like an all-encompassing wall of sound. This yields a collection of music that grows and matures with the listener during it’s running time. One of the album’s biggest rewards though is how this confidence works alongside its ambition. Countless amateur artists attempt and subsequently fail at creating a work as genuinely personal and respectfully distant as Within and Without. Also, It doesn’t hurt that Ernest Greene is one hell of a songwriter. The synths on opening tracks “Eyes Be Closed” and “Echoes” comfortably guide us along a soundscape both recognizable and fresh. Other songs like “Far Away” and “Before” are masterworks of lucid subtlety. Oddly reminiscent of early 90s Duran Duran with a dash of Cut Copy via bong resin, Washed Out deserves all the praise it warrants for this intoxicating debut. But as mentioned before, we should have probably seen this coming.
- Fr. Jones