By Victoria Kezra
The self-titled debut album from Melody’s Echo Chamber was released Tuesday Sept. 25 — the project of Parisian musician Melody Prochet and produced by Kevin Parker of Tame Impala.
From the first to last note, it’s a very cohesive album because, while the music style may change somewhat from song to song, the glue of the album is Prochet’s sweet, rippling voice that makes every song sound like it’s floating. It really does sound like Melody Prochet is singing in an echo chamber at times.
The genre of the album is hard to pin down. The tag that Prochet’s given often is “psychedelic rock,” which I can somewhat agree with; however, that misses how much of the album is dependent on lo-fi electronica loops and blibs and the static audio scribbling peppered throughout the album (reminiscent of The Raveonettes, whom Melody’s Echo Chamber is currently touring with).
With so many of the songs on the album there is a core of 60s pop rock to keep the songs anchored. Prochet seems to draw inspiration from The Beatles, glam rock, and psychedelic rock of yesteryear and adding her own innovations on top. The straightest example of a cheery 60s pop song is the album opener and single “I Follow You.” It’s the sort of tune that evokes teens of the 60s or 70s dancing at a high school dance, swaying to the music. The entire album has a nostalgic kind of feel to it, which is only natural when an artist draws inspiration from an earlier era, but it’s updated with little electronica touches so the nostalgia feels like your own.
“I Follow You” is obvious for a radio single, but it’s not representative of the album as a whole. It is the song with the simplest production and the sunniest. Most of the rest of the songs have a dark quality about them that I prefer because they feel like they have more depth to them. The dark quality of the other songs makes them more interesting to listen to. The second song, “Crystallized” which was the first song leaked, utilizes much more of the scratchy synth noises and “You Won’t Be Missed” is the happy, warm sound of “I Follow You” with strange alien-like bubbling noises in the background.
“Some Time Alone, Alone,” gets the formula right, adding the perfect amounts of retro rock style, synth sounds, and melancholy to create something that is an homage but also an outstanding example of Prochet and Impala’s work. “Quand Vas Tu Rentrer?” (“When Will You Return?”) starts with a simple five-note loop and keeps adding elements until the song is finally whole two minutes later, giving you a chance to appreciate the song for its parts.
Though there are great moments in Melody’s Echo Chamber, it isn’t a perfect album. In some songs when Prochet relies solely on trance-like electronica to make a song, it ends up aimless, without a core and becomes boring without a driving force as in “Bisou Magique” (“Magic Kiss”). Some of the more experimental songs don’t add anything to the album such as “Is That What You Said” which sounds like a song being played backwards for the entire song, or the album finisher “Be Proud of Your Kids” which is “sung” entirely by a child reciting something in French. It’s lovely that Prochet is proud of children but the album closer might not be the place to show it.
All in all, this debut effort from Melody’s Echo Chamber is a very strong one that showcases her influence from retro pop rock of the 60s and 70s while giving it an original twist of its own. The album isn’t without its flaws, but the songs that hit the mark are indicative of an artist who could really shine once she hones her sound a bit more.