A shimmering, lovely thing, this debut is also full of adventurous spirit.
James Skinner 2012-10-29
Melody’s Echo Chamber is the project of classically trained French multi-instrumentalist Melody Prochet, and an aptly named one too. Her debut album is a shimmering, lovely thing: a psychedelic gauze through which traces of dream-pop and shoegaze reverberate.
It is also, on some level, a reaction against her musical background. Having toiled over her songs, she felt disillusioned by their “formal, restrained” nature. The tonic she needed arrived in the form of Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, who produced the record, injecting the “wildness” Prochet craved. In her own words: “He helped me destroy everything I’d done… then put it back together piece by piece.”
The result is something that’s often otherworldly: washed-out and languid, frayed edges combining to create a beguiling whole; fuzzy arpeggios ringing out over washes of synth and electronica, electric guitars and live drums. Its opening song sets the template, a swooning, melancholy number with a quietly devastating lyric: “I follow you… / Pretend you want me to.”
The remainder might not match this high point, but a freewheeling, adventurous spirit of the kind embodied by Parker’s own group is evident throughout. Crystallized tumbles and careens into a crackling breakdown; Some Time Alone, Alone is lit up by unexpected Eastern flourishes; and Prochet’s French vocals on Bisou Magique and Quand Vas Tu Rentrer? are particularly intoxicating.
You Won’t Be Missing That Part of Me is a break-up song told from the vantage point of the one who called time on the relationship (Prochet scolding an ex-lover: “Because you cry / Doesn’t mean you can talk to me / When you decide”). Meanwhile, her vocals are relegated almost entirely on the pulsating collage Is That What You Said, as a flurry of sonic activity takes centre-stage.
It would have been interesting to see what form Prochet’s songs might have taken had she and Parker not deconstructed them so thoroughly here. However, given that their collaboration is exactly what stirred her into making such a bold, expressive debut album, seeing how they develop in the future makes for an even more tantalising prospect.