Review: Melody's Echo Chamber - 'Bon Voyage' (Domino)

Melody's Echo Chamber - 'Bon Voyage' (Domino) At heart its an avant-garde, breathy, psychedelic trip interwoven with heady experimentation, this album could be listened to repeatedly - always something new would reveal itself.
Posted: 15 June 2018 Words: Michelle Kim

Its an avant-garde, breathy, psychedelic trip interwoven with heady experimentation, this album could be listened to repeatedly - always something new would reveal itself.

Paris based musician-singer-songwriter, Melody Prochet has a backstory. It's been something she's been trying to shake and reinvent, and gotten into a struggle with, over the past 6 years since she first burst onto the indie scene with her self-titled debut LP. Her debut was produced by ex-partner and producer Kevin Parker, of Tame Impala and found itself met with critical acclaim and album of the year tags. Since then, there have been confusing tales of an apparent 2 years worth of work, with the aforementioned being discarded, and then last year just after it was announced that Melody would, at last, be releasing her sophomore album, the unfortunate news hit that she had been involved in a "serious accident" resulting in broken vertebrae and a brain aneurysm. Obviously, this resulted in a long period of recovery and uncertainty over the past year for Prochet, and a halt on all touring and recording commitments. To cut a long story short, this sophomore offering has been a long time coming - the news about its release earlier this year was met with sighs of relief that first and foremost, Prochet's health was in a much better place. So here we have the aptly titled Bon Voyage, which has been sung, cooed and whispered in typical Melody's Echo Chamber fashion, in a heady mixture of French, English and Swedish. Prochet collaborated with Swedish Frederik Swahn and Reine Fiske (members of The Amazing and psych-prog group Dungen). It's a 33-minute long psych-out combustion of 7 tracks, including the track 'Shrim' which has been available online since 2014. Without so much as a classic pop structure in earshot, Bon Voyage takes the listener on a majorly eccentric genre mash-up. "This is a promise to my heart, I cant keep falling from so high" Prochet sings on medieval/1970's film prog/psyche-tinged mish-mash of an album opener 'Cross My Heart'. Prochet revealed in 2017 that she had survived a bout of depression, it feels already that this LP has more sombre perspectives and themes than 2012's expression of blissful joy, something which continues to pop up throughout Bon Voyage. The most accessible, or previous guise recognisable track on the album, is undoubtedly 'Breathe In, Breathe Out', which runs in at 2.51, and features Prochet's drumming debut, lyrically it seems to reference the experience of her blurry period of recovery last year. Amongst all the Eastern percussion and world music instrumentals, the psyche freak-outs, the 60's French film soundtracking, the analogue synths, Bollywood vibes, medieval stringed instruments, disco inflections, and woozy prog-rock is always the thread of Prochet's distinctive Birkin and Hardy esq gentle singing and whispering vocals. Yes, this album is out there, but it's held together by Prochet's distinctive vocal presence and melodics. It's been 6 years since the first Melody's Echo Chamber LP, and it would be base to expect a repeat of that, for many impinging factors. Production wise, Prochet herself kept at the helm, and with the help of Swahn and Fiske, she's made it her own. This is the sophomore album Prochet was supposed to make, the courageous act of discarding the work she's already recorded for this album with popular Parker, must have taken a certain amount of bravery and perhaps self-doubt, but for some reason, Prochet has maybe felt the need to prove her own worth as a producer. It's worked out, and both unchained and refreshed her as an artist. The next may flow out as easily as the first LP did, as this has been one bitch of a second LP to birth. Bon Voyage is much more intricate and experimental than 2012's debut, but for some, the evocative avant-garde depth of work heard on this album is going to appeal on a new level. This album can be listened to over and over again, and still there's always something new to discover.

Listen to 'Bon Voyage' by Melody's Echo Chamber in full below.

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