Melody's Echo Chamber

Bon Voyage

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After releasing an entrancing debut record, the self-titled Melody's Echo Chamber, which was made in collaboration with Tame Impala's Kevin Parker, Melody Prochet ran into roadblocks, both musical and otherwise, that kept her from following up that glittering, searching, sweet-as-punch psychedelic pop gem with another one in due course. First, she and Parker tried to make an album, but after a couple years weren't able to come up with a finished product that worked for Prochet. A couple demos from the sessions did leak out to the public, but that was all. Along the way, and after a move to Sweden, she hooked up with members of Dungen and the Amazing (Reine Fiske and Fredrik Swahn), and the trio began work on an album. Fiske's bandmates in Dungen, Gustav Ejstes and drummer Johan Holmegard, came along too, and the group crafted a sound that was similar to Dungen in all their free-flowing prog-psych glory, but was ultimately driven by Prochet's role as ringleader. She exhorted the musicians to experiment and switch instruments, to loosen up and go further out, and surround her vocals with a swirling whirlwind of guitars, keys, flutes, and drums. She didn't exempt herself from the main directive she issued her players; her vocals swerve from angel-sweet to near shrieks, sometimes are warped by electronics, sometimes are whispered right into the mike. She switches from English to French to Swedish and then back again depending on the mood of the song, and her restless nature means she does it all the time. It's a bravura performance that anyone who heard the first record may not have expected. The whole album is constructed out of sudden shocks, simmering surprises, and lots of "what just the %$*! just happened" moments. Sweeping psych pop songs are interrupted by short blasts of sampled breakbeats, spoken word bits burst through the haze, Holmegard suddenly starts playing like he has four arms on "Quand les Larmes d'un Ange Font Danser la Neige," and there's never a moment of cliché or rote following of trends. She's taken the psych pop of the first MEC album and blown it up into a million shiny pieces, and it's glorious to hear. The band finished the album and the first track was released in April of 2017, but then the second major roadblock occurred. Prochet suffered a major injury that kept her from performing live, and she put the album on hold. It took a while for her to recover, but the good news was that the album was released a little more than a year later and people got a chance to hear her artistic growth in full flower. She's made giant leaps as a singer, songwriter, and musical director, and Bon Voyage shows that Melody's Echo Chamber is far from being just a Kevin Parker creation. Prochet's vision is her own, and it's strong enough here to fly free of any and all constraints.

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