This piece was originally published September 23rd, 2013.
Approximately one year ago, The Mystery Box Mobile Touring Cavalcade was in Boston at the Paradise Rock Club to once again see our favorite Danish duo, The Raveonettes.
Opening act for the guaranteed great time that is The Raveonettes, which features the incredible talents of Sune Rose Wagner and his partner Sharin Foo, was a band listed with the equally cool and intriguing moniker, Melody’s Echo Chamber.
We had no idea who they were or what they would sound like.
A poster from The Raveonettes / Melody’s Echo Chamber Tour
As Melody’s Echo Chamber took to the stage, it was brought to my attention by my girlfriend that the barefooted lead singer/front woman had “really good bangs, but not just bangs—French girl bangs!”
It turned out that she actually was a French girl named Melody Prochet, and was virtually a solo artist that had put together this band for touring behind her first album, Melody’s Echo Chamber.
Melody Prochet’s great “French girl” bangs
Prochet is a classically trained singer and viola player, who had skipped out of the classical world to seek the vibrant excitement that comes with playing in a rock band.
In 2010, Melody Prochet had originally released an album in France under the project name My Bee’s Garden (her first band was called Narcoleptic Dancers) called Hunt The Sleeper.
The album is a nice selection of dreamy, hazy psychedelic pop tracks that instantly showcased what a wonderful voice Prochet has. She toured Europe behind the album, opening for Australian psychedelic groove rock band Tame Impala, who had been an out of the box indie favorite, with their early singles and debut album Innerspeaker, also released in 2010 to widespread acclaim.
Tame Impala with Kevin Parker (second from left).
Tame Impala is primarily the project of Kevin Parker, who masterminds a masterful accumulation of influences that is at at times Pink Floyd meets Cream meets Krautrock. A blend of acidic space rock that sonically, due to Parker’s meticulously brilliant craftsmanship in the studio, whether it be lo-fi or on a larger budget, is among the more exciting listens happening in rock music today.
Melody Prochet recognized in Parker’s sound something she was felt was lacking in her own recorded work, a gritty, effect pedal heavy, fuzzed out, hook-filled sound that jumped off speakers in much the same way that recalled the recordings of The Jimi Hendrix Experience or Pink Floyd.
Melody Prochet’s dream becomes a reality.
Parker collaborated with Prochet on songs she composed that would become her new 11 song debut album project, which she decided to call Melody’s Echo Chamber, named after a dream she had where her bedroom was a great echo chamber that could create an infinite delay.
When I saw Prochet and her band live, it was before hearing the recorded album. There was no drummer, and there was little way of knowing that the opening act before The Raveonettes would be anything to rave on about almost a year later. Nevertheless, I was immediately smitten with Prochet’s voice (not unlike another fave singer of mine, Claudine Longet), her exuberant dancing and barefoot stage presence—but above all, how her songs seemed to already be those of a certain top quality, like those of a long established act, and not merely the awkwardly mediocre type that can sometimes, unfortunately, beset the material of an unknown opening act.
Talking to Melody Prochet afterward the show, while I purchased her debut album at the merchandise table, I had to mention how I heard an underlying Serge Gainsbourg influence in her material.
Melody Prochet: Making the spirit of Serge Gainsbourg proud.
I wasn’t just picking one of the great French musical creators of all time from my Mystery Box hat with my statement, I actually felt that here was material that went deeper than any current musical trends and like Serge, I sensed that Prochet’s scope of musical proficiency, growing up with the French “chanteuse” tradition, and doubtlessly, her background in classical training, all lead me to this conclusion.
Seemed to be on the money, as she happily agreed and said how she liked Serge very much.
Melody’s Echo Chamber, the debut album.
After taking home her debut album, Melody’s Echo Chamber, and listening to it on a constant rotation for weeks afterwards, I was convinced that here was the debut of a future superstar that would go on to make many incredible albums.
The first single from the album, “I Follow You.”
Not only did the first track, “I Follow You” startle as an instantly memorable sounding single, but every track on the 44:33 minute album rewarded as a superb and special aural statement.
Utilizing Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker as the producer and mixer for the album was something that could have easily overshadowed Prochet’s songs and voice, but instead he has helped to create something that does not detract or bog things down into some murky and gray psychedelic stew, but rather creates interesting juxtapositions of sound, spaciously fascinating tonal complexities, and overall leaves you with as colorful and interesting an album of Krautrock/space rock/pop/psychedelia/easy listening music as you will have heard in a very long time.
Melody Prochet contemplates the future sounds that lie beneath those groovy bangs.
Even though many reviews will name-check the obvious groups that have explored similar sounds and styles such as Prochet—Stereolab, Broadcast, Air, Blonde Redhead and My Bloody Valentine—I really feel and hear that Prochet’s material on the album has been influenced just as much by Serge Gainsbourg’s explorations of musical trends in the great days of ’60’s Pop Art (for example, his work with France Gall, Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin comes to mind) as well as Pink Floyd’s exquisite melodicism that they had crafted on some of my favorite pre-Dark Side Of The Moon albums of theirs such as More, Atom Heart Mother and Obscured By Clouds.
Having an audio collaborator like Kevin Parker at Prochet’s side, the pair should be able to continue to come up with work that is as exciting as their that of their many influences and musical heroes.
Meanwhile, with Melody’s Echo Chamber such a stunning debut, Melody Prochet has all the makings of a future filled with high accolades, greater albums and tours and I’ll make a guess, some acting future as well.
For the record, I think Kevin Parker might be her boyfriend these days…sorry guys!
A great accomplishment and one heck of a magnificent echo chamber indeed.
Melody’s Echo Chamber is available through their label Fat Possum Records on LP, CD and download, and also at all fine purveyors of good music everywhere.