Melody’s Echo Chamber: Bon Voyage

After the release of an explosive lead single, Melody Prochet’s second studio album released under Melody’s Echo Chamber, Bon Voyage was released mid-June of 2018. The record though, had been announced as far back as 2014 with the release of the single “Shrim,” which felt to similar in mood and style of her first record, which was a collaboration with Kevin Parker. Prochet enlisted his help on her self-titled record, Melody’s Echo Chamber, her debut solo project which featured Prochet’s lofty vocals and arrangements, as well as Parker’s signature rhythm section and synthesizers.

The next two singles came baring bad news, as well as alien planet meets FernGully-style animations, bathed in shades of violet. “Cross My Heart” sees the main animation sleeping through several life cycles of the construction and destruction of a planet, until music is played for her, thus animating the muse’s body. The melodic, grooving section falls away to make room for a hip-hop influenced beatboxing and woodwinds.

The sentiment of being awoken by music was accompanied by the news that due to an unspecified accident, Prochet suffered a brain aneurysm and broken vertebrae. She had spent months hospital-bound, causing the album’s release to be delayed from its original 2016 date.

The formal release date was released in April this year, along with single “Breathe In, Breathe Out,” and a continuation of the animation as another music video, from the perspective of the pilgrim character who had awoken the giant from the first video. The world is formed, and we get incredible scenes of fantasy plantlife, cities, communities and these little beads of sound that fly around and glow blue.

The single is short and energetic. Like many of the songs on the record, we begin in a place that seems familiar, but Prochet is not afraid to break the form. Sections drop large portions of the music and create huge drama with their juxtaposition as experimental vocals skip around or without a drum beat between heavy rhythmic sections. It seems that although Parker’s influence on Prochet’s work helped her to flesh out her style, but her steady hand in Bon Voyage’s production created a dense, whimsical and unique record.

Though the first single of the album felt more like her previous record, “Desert Horse,” is about as far from that sound as it gets. Prochet barely allows listeners to find the pace, she describes “Desert Horse” as documenting “becoming an adult woman in a mad world.” Incredibly dense, many of the sections of this song use electronic drums, as well as experimental vocals and complicated transitions. Throughout the record, Prochet stretches her typically dainty voice to screech and grinds through somersaulting sections. Her brave use of autotuning in “Dark Horse,” and disjointed samples creates distorted and confusing emotional spaces as we’re taken into a dissociative realm.

This, directly contrasted with “Var Har Du Vart?” (translates to “where have you been”) helps us to negotiate the remainder of the album. The song is just acoustic guitar and two vocals, separated by octave. The next song, “Quand Les Larmes D’un Ange Font Danser La Neige,” is more of what fans were expecting from that original single, heavy rhythm paired with her breathy French vocals, but is broken up midway through by Nicholas Allbrook of Pond.

“Visions of Someone Special, On a Wall of Reflections” features a ukulele and an undulating synth, layering scratchy power chords and Melody’s signature vocal style, and breaks through an ambient section into one where Prochet follows the instrumentation in staccato, only to reemerge within the ambience and re-contextualize the sound.

The record maintains the fans’ idea of what Melody’s Echo Chamber is, while also allowing for Prochet’s individual growth. With the assistance of Allbrook, as well as Fredrik Swahn of the Amazing and Reine Fiske of Dungen helped her to create a record that seems unphased by a desire for structure in every way, mirroring both the world around her and her own physical health. Unique and meaningful, Prochet leads the way for modern psych pop to branch out from its attraction to grooves and drones.

Rating: 8.5/10

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