Washed Out — Purple Noon (8/7/20)

Keeping my thoughts brief on this one.

This is the fourth full-length album from American artist Ernest Weatherly Greene Jr. under his Washed Out moniker. His 2013 sophomore Paracosm was maybe my first experience with the chillwave genre, and I was amazed with songs like “It All Feels Right” and especially “Weightless.”

2017’s Mister Mellow seemed to have a lot more going on instrumentally and I just couldn’t get behind any of it.

We find him again with Purple Noon and I am happy to say it’s a much more peaceful listen. It’s not all that much of an exciting listen though. While there’s certainly momentum to these songs, I find the melodies struggle to hold my interest.

It has its moments. The penultimate “Hide” has a really strong instrumental refrain that has a real bounce to it, while the opening “Too Late” uses wobbling synths and some Phil Collins-like drum fills to great effect. “Face Up” hits on the nose of what this album is to me: gentle, pleasant, graceful, and, ultimately, dull.

“Time to Walk Away” was put forward as the main single and it definitely was the right choice. There’s no doubt that it’s the most engaging and driven song of the group. It’s quite pretty and shines a light on the wonderful vocal performance. It’s the closest the album comes to reaching special territory but even this song falls shy of really leaving a mark on my year of music.

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