Melody's Echo Chamber “Melody’s Echo Chamber” (Fat Possum, 2012)
Australian multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker lends his considerable musical talents (particularly spaced-out, heavily-phased guitar) to Melody Prochet’s ethereal, Liz Fraser-like cooing for an album of dreamy soundscapes that some have likened to a “female Tame Impala”. True, there’s the same occasionally annoying overindulgent drum spanking and unnecessary production flourishes and sound effects tossed onto the end of most of the tracks (“Snowcapped Andes Crash” and the silly voices on “Be Proud Of Your Kids” are particularly glaring examples) that only detract from Prochet’s crystalline vocals. But there’s no denying Parker’s uncanny ability to craft an endearingly catchy pop tune, and with the Parisian Prochet’s delicate vocals swirling around Parker’s wall-of-sound production, we’re left with the indelible sound of French pop channelled through 4AD atmospherics – imagine Françoise Hardy teaming up with Lush or the Cocteau Twins!
Which might have been what Parker was worried about when he chose to embellish Prochet’s cotton-candy utterances with seemingly out-of-place, phased guitars and those damned headpounding, intrusive drums. But the comparisons are apt and are complimentary, not derogatory. If you’ve got a reincarnated Cocteau Twins on your hands, set it free – don’t bottle it up. I think there’s enough material in Prochet’s tunes and arrangements to simply let her emote and drape the odd synth here or an occasional guitar swash there. I’d love to here stripped down versions of her French tracks like “Bisou Magiue” and “Quand Vas Tu Rentrer?” – simple melodies coyly dancing around angelic vocals. If anything, the album is a tad over-produced. But if you’re prepared for a full frontal attack of the senses, then simply sit back and revel in the glow of the Stereolaby “Mount Hopeless”, the headswirling, backward-masked calliope sounds of “Is That What You Said”, and the heaven-on-earth dreampop masterpiece “Some Time Alone, Alone” which grafts an unforgettable little tune onto an expressive film track along the lines of what Francis Lai might’ve concocted back in his glorious 70’s heyday. Merveilleux, avec certaines réserves.
Review made by Jeff Penczak/2013
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