Melody's Echo Chamber Melody's Echo ChamberMelody’s Echo Chamber
With three quarters of the year behind us, we can tell you now that 2012 hasn’t been the best year as far as newcomers to the indie-pop scene go. Except for hybrid projects such as Jessie Ware or Purity Ring, few names come to mind other than DIIV. But just when we were about to close up shop, someone unexpected appeared: Melody’s Echo Chamber. We have spoken of her here in recent months because of the signals she’s been sending out since last spring. We know that she’s a Parisian with classical training, a viola student who answers to the name of Melody Prochet; a chance meeting with Kevin Parker from Tame Impala after a concert given by her previous band, My Bee’s Garden, became an epiphany. The spark of creativity and chemistry flamed quickly and the Australian invited her to his studio in Perth to mix and produce the songs for what was to become her self-titled debut album.
The most surprising thing about this album is the free spirit with which it was produced. They used pedestrian, almost childlike techniques, with a certain process of exploration. For example, the eloquent “Some Time Alone, Alone” was written by Prochet herself while Kevin Parker was on tour with Tame Impala. The Parisian found herself alone in the studio with some notes written by Parker about how the equipment worked, and even though she considered her results to be technically wrong, the truth is that they accidentally became one of the best songs of the bunch, with magic arpeggios and guitars that owe a great deal to Deerhunter. But everything in “Melody’s Echo Chamber” is wonderful, thanks to an exuberant wealth of textures, melodies, sounds and layers.
“I Follow You” reclaims the legacy of the 60s, with results that are as winning as those obtained a year ago by Cults, but here with kaleidoscopic melodies and light brushstrokes of psychedelia (and plenty of Tame Impala) among elegant strings and prominent distorted guitar riffs. The sweetness continues with “You Won’t Be Missing That Part Of Me”, with cosmic synths accompanying Melody’s voice, which recites heartbreakingly: “Because I lied with all my heart / Because it’s time to change my life / Because you won’t be missing that part of me”. In “Crystallized” she turns into Trish Keenan, and she might just be the vocalist in recent years who has gotten the most out of repeated listening to Broadcast. The piece takes on an electronic tone, with fat, grainy beats that reminds one of the rhythm of “Idioteque”. Prochet does a fine job of recreating the spell of “Endless Shore”, the B-side of the previously mentioned song, a cover of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, who, like her and her right-hand man, are also modern craftsmen of psychedelic pop.
Another of the most pleasant aspects of this album is the ease with which Melody Prochet changes from French to English without disturbing the songs. She says that everything happened very spontaneously, when she holed up in her beach house at Cavalière to put the final touches to the album. It’s important to mention this because another of the clear influences on the music of Melody’s Echo Chamber is Stereolab, and we all know how very good Laetitia Sadier was at singing in her mother tongue when she chose to. The sweet tone of the language fits textbook dream-pop songs such as “Quand Vas Tu Rentrer?” like a glove. She also hit the nail on the head with the sequencing. The LP starts out with a shot, followed by a quieter central part, accentuated in “Mount Hopeless” (which owes a great deal to her fellow countrymen, AIR), and finally comes to an end driven by a wonderful interlude – “Isthatwhatyousaid”– with spirals of chaotic, distorted electronic sounds, close in spirit to Boards Of Canada. The last two cuts show both sides of Prochet. On the one hand, “Snowcapped Andes Crash” talks about cannibalism after an airplane crash, probably a reference to the accident in the Andes in 1972. This allows us to catch a glimpse of her darker side, with structuring that turns the song into an exercise in intrigue in the middle and keeps it going until the final explosion. This piece contrasts with the closing, “Be Proud Of Your Kids”, which includes children’s voices to give it a naïf touch and, in passing, to call to mind the Scottish brothers. “Melody’s Echo Chamber” surprises with its heterogeneity and singularity in a genre where it seems like everything has already been said.