“Bon Voyage” sounds like the kind of album you make when you want to make something risky and wild and brave. An aesthetic declaration. Melody’s Echo Chamber is not chasing trends–Melody Prochet is making the kind of music she wants to hear. This is all to say that “Bon Voyage” feels deeply personal and weird in the best way, an expression of a person, or group of people, pursuing their musical ideas faithfully and intensely, no matter how bonkers they might be (or sound) on the surface. Thinking back on my own listening experience with this album, I can recall, without giving my impressions a forensic examination, sounds of sighs and heavy breathing, a man screaming in what sounds like Japanese, helium-high vocals, beat-boxing, flute solos, French and English mingling, blazing bright guitars, amazing percussion.
Prochet worked on the album with Reine Fiske from Dungen (in addition to Gustav Esjtes and Johan Holmegaard, also from Dungen, and you can hear that sound coming through), the Amazing’s Fredrik Swahn, and Nicholas Allbrook from Pond. I would love to know what music served as touchstones for Prochet and the rest while they were recording this album–it sounds to me like there are little allusions here and there to records by Stereolab and Broadcast, among many others (like a snippet from the beginning of “Shirim,” the last song on the album, reminded me of a Steven R. Smith tune that in turn was reminiscent of the music in “Pather Panchali”).
“Bon Voyage” is a beautiful, exuberant album, seven vivid and high-energy songs that are bigger on the inside than they are on the outside.