I often cite myself as a lover of French music, but what I really mean is that I love old French music: the swarm of Yé-Yé girls that penetrated pop music in the 60’s and old stand-bys like Serge Gainsbourg and Jacques Brel. In fact, there are only a small handful of contemporary French musicians I really admire, and Melody Prochet of Melody’s Echo Chamber has just been added to that list.
Melody’s self-titled debut album sounds unlike anything I’ve heard coming out of Paris. She steers away from the popular style of “chanson française” and, though she coos (and coos often), she hasn’t given in to the recent trend of French female singers who have adopted “la voix de Lolita.” Instead, the tracks on this album are ethereal and moody, tempestuous and fuzzy. Melody’s Echo Chamber is a collection of rhythmically driven songs featuring layered, breathy vocals and the shoegaze-y sensibilities of celebrated bands like Stereolab and Broadcast.
The album is rich with atmospheric synthesizers, densely layered instrumentation, and plenty of dubs. Songs “You Won’t Be Missing That Part Of Me” and “Is That What You Said” begin straightforwardly enough but give way to experimental electronics and heavy distortion, keeping them from ever feeling predictable. Producer Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) maintains a perfect balance of sonic roughness to accompany Prochet’s smooth, hazey voice.
However weathered and world-weary Prochet sounds (“Here I go again,” she trills on “Endless Shore”), it’s clear she hasn’t given up entirely on sweetness. In the stunning album opener “I’ll Follow You,” a dreamy, 60’s pop ballad, she pledges unwavering allegiance to a runaway lover. Album closer “Be Proud Of Your Kids,” a sentiment sweet enough in itself, samples a child speaking in French. In “Bisous Magique” she delivers the sickeningly cute line “fais-moi un bisous magique,” which translates to “give me a magic kiss,” as if she were the sole dweller in a naïve and whimsical world long forgotten by the rest of us.
Melody’s Echo Chamber is ambitious, evocative, and hints at the greatness of which Prochet is capable- a triumphant debut album.