It’s hard not to tie the music of Melody’s Echo Chamber to a season. The moniker for Parisian Melody Prochet first gained notice this past summer with the kind of blissed-out sunny psych that’s become blog-bait these days. Heck, there’s a song called “Endless Shore” on her self-titled debut that sounds like a wave crashing against itself in slow-motion. Yet for all the sun-damaged aesthetics—including the video for “I Follow You,” a beautifully kaleidoscopic clip that’s nonetheless rote by indie standards—Prochet’s debut is decidedly ghostly. It rises above the pack by forcing you to listen to all the intricacies housed within.
Much will be made by the fact that likeminded peer Kevin Parker of Tame Impala recorded the album, and yes, his wooly fingerprints are apparent, especially in the crystal-clear rhythm section. But he takes a backseat to Prochet’s obvious songwriting talent. Her songs unspool like clockwork: “Some Time Alone, Alone” takes this literally as guitar notes cascade down with fluidity, providing a sugar-rush of countermelody to Prochet’s yearning vocals. Some selections are allowed to organically wander, like “You Won’t Be Missing That Part Of Me” or the music-box wonderment of “Snowcapped Andes Crash.” Elsewhere, Prochet delivers the sky-reaching chorus that’s needed. “Crystallized” was a wise first single since nothing can really stop its forward momentum. Foggy arpeggios toss and turn while a bass line pulled from Revolver revolves underneath.
While so many modern psych bands tend to lean hard on their more obvious shoegaze influences, Prochet knows to leave out the wall of sound and let the listener fill in the gaps. There’s a method to each synthesized squiggle, adding texture without burying the whole endeavor. Guitars, bass, and drums ring hard and true; only Prochet’s voice is masked. In fact, that’s the one major qualm with this record. She has an extraordinary voice, so it would be nice to be able to pick out more than just a random French phrase every once in awhile.
Where this album succeeds the most is in its ‘60s-indebted cool. It’s hard to make that decade sound fresh again, and even harder to tap into that romanticism while still maintaining a contemporary edge. At times, the music recalls the more pop-friendly end of Broadcast, like on the jazzy “Quand Vas Tu Rentrer” or “Bisou Magique.” That band hid behind shadows, and Prochet isn’t afraid to head down some dark alleys of her own. Bright colors fit heavily in her palette, though, making for a sound that’s luminous yet rainy in all the right places.
You can come for the psychedelic pyrotechnics, and you can stay for the hooks: this debut is endlessly replayable. The term “echo chamber” has a negative connotation, but not in Prochet’s hands. No detail is left neglected, allowing the music to reverberate and bloom under its own power—no specific season required.