Melody’s Echo Chamber
The title of Bon Voyage, Melody Prochet’s much-anticipated second full-length as Melody’s Echo Chamber, is fitting, as this collection sends the listener on a journey. From beginning to end, Prochet weaves a mystical, multifaceted landscape of sound, constructed from layered instrumentation and ghostly vocals. Bon Voyage, while noticeably similar to her previous work, takes Prochet’s characteristic dreaminess a step further. The collection is accented with Swedish folk references, an homage to Serge Gainsbourg, and even some hip-hop. This results in a mind-bending, immersive work, providing a glimpse inside Prochet’s labyrinthine imagination.
Prochet finds power in duality: secrecy and vulnerability, elation and gloom, light and darkness. Her music often pairs upbeat, dizzying melodies with moody lyrics. On Bon Voyage, Prochet’s dark side is thrust to the forefront—nothing is censored. And after a life-threatening health scare last year (that occured once the album had already been announced), her emotions feel particularly potent to take in. More than one track ruefully examines guilt; on “Desert Horse,” Prochet sings, “So much blood / On my hands / And there's not much left to destroy / I know I am better alone.” Other times, she meditates on loneliness and heartbreak.
“Desert Horse” is arguably the album’s strongest moment. The song is wonderfully weird: warped vocals, jittery tambourine, wailing violin. The five-minute focal point verges on chaos, but is refreshingly unlike anything heard from Prochet before. It is followed by “Var Har Du Vart?,” a charmingly folksy song featuring contributions by Swedish artist Gustav Ejstes of Dungen. The two tracks couldn’t be more different—yet somehow, they are complementary and speak to the diversity of the record.
While many of the topics explored in Bon Voyage are far from uplifting, the album, surprisingly, isn’t remotely depressing. Rather, Prochet’s cynicism feels necessary—even therapeutic. It’s done with a bit of humor, too, as if she knows not to take herself too seriously. We can’t be sure what, exactly, Prochet was up to over the past six years after her debut, but Bon Voyage is a more comfortable and confident approach to her art than she’s ever exhibited before—and it’s a trip.