Melody’s Echo Chamber is the name given to the work of Paris-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Melody Prochet. Possessing a penchant for wild-eyed psychedelia, homespun motorik rhythm and an effortless flair for the sort of melodic classicism redolent of chamber song, Prochet is at once both an aficionado of pop’s outer limits and off-kilter to its expectations.
With her smoky, sensual voice and romantic presence, Prochet embodies a distinctive kind of elegance and bold sense-of-self long associated with France’s more notable musical exports. But as much as her national identity runs through the fibre of the eleven tracks that make up Melody’s Echo Chamber, there’s worldliness at play too; a looking beyond the fringes of personal experience to trawl through Europe’s art pop lineage – kraut, space-rock, dream-pop, electronica – in a way that’s as much cinematic in its scope as it is musical.
The likes of Debussy and Spiritualized are seldom quoted in tandem when it comes to touch-points of an artist’s debut album but for Prochet, a classical music student of some twelve years, this sense of disparate influences makes a lot of sense. For all its blown-out boom and electronic wear-and-tear, a song like ‘Crystallized’ unfolds with a sweeping grace and poise that is deceptively complex, and the album is peppered with moments of melodic illumination that feel almost like movements in the way they frequently elevate the song up and away from the heavy, damaged break-beats and mesmeric bass loops that typically drive them.
“I’ve been surrounded for many years by the idea of classicism as I studied Viola and it’s all about formal and restrained music, and when I started recording my own songs I was kind of stifled by that restriction and tended to not be as extreme as I wanted to be in sound or structure,” explains Prochet. “I think at some point I had a click and I naturally ended up collaborating with someone with a Rock ‘n’ Roll background such as Kevin. We worked as kind of complementary opposites – he helped me destroy everything I’d done up to that point and then put it back together piece by piece, to sculpt it with the right balance of classicism but also the psychedelia and wildness I wanted.”
Fittingly for a record defined by its multiple identities, Melody’s Echo Chamber finds Prochet skipping between her native French and English with gleeful fluidity and uniformly moving results, such is the innately emotive quality of her voice. “Those songs were also the first time I ever sang in French”, says Prochet, “I never had wanted to before, it never felt natural – I’ve listened to so much English music, and you are able to sing more ridiculous things in English. I’ve always been a fan of French singers but I never really considered myself capable of living up to them. But when I was in the beach house by myself I just found myself coming out with these melodies in French almost without thinking. I found a way to write really simple, poetic, lyrics – almost child-like and it felt extremely natural. I think I was able to find the right balance.”
Recalling the devil-in-the-detail peculiarities and painterly eyes of primary influences Pram, Oliver Messiaen and Robert Wyatt in her dizzy kaleidoscope of cavernous psych-rock and ultra-vivid, hypnotic pop, Prochet’s debut album is a statement of delicate intricacy and grand vision alike – a perfect portal into the imagination and instinct of a unique young artist.
US TOUR DATES
4/17 & 4/24 @ Coachella – Indio, CA [tickets]