The year 2013 was when we last heard of Ernest Greene, the brain, heart and lungs of dream pop sensation Washed Out. With the release of Within and Without in 2011, followed by Paracosm two years later, Greene was able to make a name for himself as one of the biggest artists to make it out of the 2010s chillwave scene. Mister Mellow, his third full-length album, and first under LA-based label Stones Throw Records, comes with a set of visual videos that tell a story just like Beyoncé and Jay-Z.

Listening to Washed Out has always been a soothing and somewhat sad but nurturing experience. Combining Greene’s soft synths with a vibrant passion for delayed vocals, this allowed the producer to build-up a logical sound palette and a strong concept around his music. A dense emotional layer was key to the greatness of his previous records, as well as his overall calming aesthetic: it made this chillwave-turned-pop project engaging. With Mister Mellow, he opted for a more tropical, warmer direction that feels somehow uninspired.

If zoning out while enjoying this new Washed Out album was your initial plan, then you might be in for a stumble. With twelve songs (and accompanying videos), Washed Out has floundered in its new direction; while trying to uphold downtempo and the usual grooviness, Mister Mellow feels short, lacks structure and engagement.

The two singles, ‘Hard to Say Goodbye’ and ‘Get Lost’ do succeed in creating a comforting section on this record. Among an album comprising many short or filler tracks that you inevitably forget, these tracks embrace summer nostalgia, a mindset that has been deeply rooted into the core of this album.

However, finding actual solid and structured songs in Mister Mellow is a hard task, as many feel unnecessary, especially when compared to the previous records, which are compelling musical stories. Ultimately, Greene’s new record feels scattered -- a few gems between fillers -- as he struggles to create coherence.

With Mister Mellow, Washed Out seems to have lost his gift of storytelling that made his debut album a reference to dream pop bands and electronic producers. Skimming through the tracks, they feel soulless and are disguised as part of ‘a concept’. They end up falling into the loop of predictability and become obsolete. Which way would be best to correct a misstep like this? By trying again.