When Ernest Greene and his bandmates that make up Washed Out took the stage of the El Rey in Los Angeles on Monday night, the setup resembled a psychedelic luau or a scene from FernGully: The Last Rainforest. With flower-shaped lights draped over the musicians and clumps of glowing luminescence scattered about, the serene and ethereal chords that make up Greene's own brand of songwriting were right at home.
With a flower tucked in his acoustic guitar's bridge, Greene performed the singles from his latest release, Paracosm, as well as earlier materials including "Feel It All Around," a fan-favorite featured on the opening credits of "Portlandia." The first single off the new album "It All Feels Right" accurately exemplifies the laid-back, space-age brand of pop that Greene has been honing since he came to prominence as a bedroom artist a few years ago. The optimism imbued in every song is sometimes subtle and sometimes a blatant crescendo, but it's always there. Greene himself worked the stage with a welcoming and gracious demeanor not always found in sold out performances.
Much of Washed Out's synths and beats are heavily rooted in the greats of New Wave. But unlike most predecessors, Greene's songs offer a sentimentality and wide-eyed sincerity that's difficult not to admire.