Formerly of The Narcoleptic Dancers and My Bee’s Garden, Melody Prochet has embraced dream pop with Melody’s Echo Chamber project. The classically trained Parisian recruited Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker to produce her debut under that name, making those closed-eye visions a reality. Lead single/opener “I Follow You” begins with simple, sun-drenched ’60s melodies and ambling guitars before descending into a psychedelic swirl that recalls Parker’s day job. Consider that spiral a gentle warning to not expect anything straightforward from Melody’s Echo Chamber, especially when things seem to be heading in that direction.
On “Endless Shore”, for example, Prochet crafts a densely layered haze complete with ethereal coos signature to the style, yet she does so in a manner that’s less pensive and more authoritative. The rhythm section doesn’t bother with hypnosis, favoring a superliminal approach, a feat developed well into the motorik beats of “Crystallized”. The unabashed prettiness of Prochet’s vocals on “You Won’t Be Missing That Part of Me” are undercut by sci-fi tinged synth notes that propel the song into the unknown cosmos.
“Snowcapped Andes Crash” finds the band swapping their pop leanings for a jazzy feel. The track’s midsection crashes back to earth, only to continue as if the avalanches of the title never happened. Fuzzed guitars take a backseat to Air-like grooves on “Mount Hopeless”, chiming in and out like some kind of warning. This lounge-y vibe is immediately shattered on the glitched-out two minute distortion-fest “Isthatwhatyousaid”. It would have been the album’s strangest moment if it weren’t for closer “Be Proud of Your Kids”, during which one cannot help but recall M83’s “Raconte-Moi Une Histoire” thanks to the supporting gibberish vocals of an actual child.
In contrast to other recent releases in the genre, there is an underlying sense of danger to Melody’s Echo Chamber. The album is akin to an Inception-style dream within a dream, where there’s a risk of never waking, instead remaining trapped in limbo. While some albums evoke a dream-like state, Melody’s Echo Chamber ensnares the listener into its elegant wilderness, not wanting to let go.
Essential Tracks: “Crystallized”, “You Won’t Be Missing That Part of Me”, and “Snowcapped Andes Crash”