Nearly every song on Bon Voyage, the highly anticipated second album from Melody’s Echo Chamber, mentions breath. From “Breathe in, Breathe Out,” to the mantra at the end of “Var Har Du Vart,” Melody Prochet (the artist behind Melody’s Echo Chamber) has a preoccupation with the simple movement. But after a traumatic, mysterious injury in 2017, it makes sense that a life force is newly fascinating to Prochet.
Several moments throughout Bon Voyage are breathy, gasping for air, made up of sighs and screams. It’s a wild trip through a French pop world created by Prochet and psychedelic Swedish collaborators Fredrik Swahn (The Amazing) and Reine Fiske (Dungen), as well as Nicholas Allbrook of Pond. Rumbling bass is paired with a gritty, high-pitched electric guitar, mixed over 90’s synths and 60’s “Orientalist” strings.
Lyrically, Bon Voyage is stuffed with contradictions, vivid imagery and nonsense. “Cross My Heart” is groovy French pop with lovely arrangements, spliced together with a fairy tale chorus. Most stylish young pop singers would steer away from elves and wolves, like the ones Prochet sings about in “Cross My Heart.” But when she coos her fantasy in French, it somehow makes it less Dungeons and Dragons, more sexy wood nymph.
“Desert Horse” is a winding psychedelic epic. Vocoder breakdowns, scatalogical lyrics, and shouts create an experience akin to taking peyote in Joshua Tree with Daft Punk and Serge Gainsbourg. “Quand Les Larmes D’un Ange Font Danser La Neige,” is another spacey saga, with catchy riffs while Prochet sings the relentlessly optimistic chorus, “Keep on smiling / Ain’t no karma, only love.”
“Shirim,” originally released in 2014 is a vestige of the past, pre-accident Melody with an ex-boyfriend, Kevin Parker, on production. The soulful bassline and fuzzed out guitars are slightly disjointed from the rest of Bon Voyage, but the track is fun enough that it adds some much needed pop-levity to an occasionally dark album.
In a press release, Prochet describes Bon Voyage as embodying her “difficult life journey these last few years, through my own personal desert of heartaches, thirst, mirages, moving sands, disillusionment, and of becoming an adult woman in a mad world.” This struggle is represented throughout the album, in the chaotic pop songs stuffed with the sounds and images of a woman searching. Though Bon Voyage can be at times overwhelming, Prochet has not wasted a single breath.
Notable Tracks: “Cross My Heart” | “Desert Horse” | “Shirim”