Since 2011, Washed Out (alias Ernest Greene) drove the “chillwave” sound and space with the release of Within and Without. Shortly after his first album, Greene released two more full-length albums to critical acclaim and high commercial success.
Washed Out’s newest album, titled Purple Moon, is set to release under Sub-Pop on August 7, the same label that released Within and Without and Paracosm before it.
As a whole, Purple Moon is not a daring deviation as much as it is a deeper indulgence in Washed Out’s roots. The appropriate-although-contested and reclusive-yet-highly-commercial “chillwave” label suits Greene’s trajectory, appeal, and sound quite well.
Purple Moon is everything you’ve come to expect from Washed Out: dreamily layered vocals soar atop a chorus of synths, and Greene’s often-hip-hop-inspired beats will give you something to groove, nod, and dance to.
Tracks like “Face Up” and “Reckless Desires” showcase Washed Out’s ability to blend the lowest-dB ends of his pop-inspired and hip-hop-influenced cadence to create a tastefully familiar groove throughout that’s been the hallmark since Paracosm. On “Face Up,” for example, you’ll hear Genesis-inspired kick-tom-snare permeate and drive the track.
Washed Out used fan-submitted footage to create the music video for “Too Late.” The reason? Ernest Greene makes it abundantly clear in the first scene of the video.
“Due to travel restrictions and quarantine laws, the video shoot for ‘Too Late’ was cancelled. I asked fans to help me make a new video by sharing footage they’d shot from around the world. The response was overwhelming.”
Washed Out released a single, “Time to Walk Away,” and the song is undoubtedly the biggest treat on Purple Moon. If I’m allowed a brief-but-wholesome anecdote about my first time hearing this song, then here it is:
Before having the chance to review Purple Moon, I was driving with my girlfriend to a grocery store across the Highlands neighborhood in Denver, Colorado. We flip to Denver’s “art-pop/indie” station 102.3, and “Time to Walk Away” played without an announcement or intro from the station’s host. I tell my girlfriend, with maybe five-seconds into the song, that this must be Washed Out. After the song ends, the station’s host confirms my quick and accurate guess.
I was stunned by my guess, since I’ve heard nothing from this band for about five years, but I was also inspired by the fact that even in a world where our yesterdays seldom predict our tomorrows, there are bands, DJs, solo artists like Washed Out, and other musical groups to remind us of a collective past through sound, a band or artist we can turn to when we want to be reminded of an alt-future and pleasant past.
Washed Out’s Purple Moon will please you if you’ve been a listener from the start or had just unearthed the Pandora’s box that is “chillwave.”