Review Summary: soft awakenings // personal reflections
Both in theory and practice, psychedelic music is a very bizarre genre. An entire category of music dedicated to worshipping the effects of a chemical while simultaneously constructing songs for those who are on said chemical: strangely fascinating. What’s even more ridiculous is the fact that society has decided that this genre can be marketed and exploited in the midst of our capitalistic world, yet the drug itself is entirely illegal for consumption and/or research. Political critiques aside, the genre is an enthralling adventure into the minds of the artists as they consistently attempt to manifest their acid/shrooms realizations and feelings. I love to look at each psychedelic rock album as a sliver of the musicians’ lives at the time they made it, a peek into something so personal yet so universally understood. These experiences can range from nonsensical ramblings and freak-outs during Brainticket’s trip, to the calmly self-aware realizations found in Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s music.
As for Melody’s Echo Chamber, I like to imagine Melody Prochet’s trips appear serene and indifferent at the surface; beneath, however, is an internal despondency and coldness that grudgingly lurks. Although there is passion and emotion found within her frail, soothing voice, it’s almost as if she is hiding something from the people she is with and singing to. On ‘I Follow You’ this detachment and sadness is explicit: a missed opportunity of sorts and an anti-confessional way of saying, “why didn’t you show me you loved me?”. While it’s fascinating to examine the life of Melody as portrayed through this album, it’s the music that hits all of the right spots for any psychedelic rock fan. It’s clear to see the influences producer Kevin Parker had on this album as you can practically hear Crystallized’s bassline within the midst of a Lonerism
track. The production is incredible as well, much like Tame Impala's, culminating in bubbly auditory illusions that streak across your ears and sterling mixing that illuminates the bright and fuzzy instrumentation. Melody still makes this her own, however, opting for tranquil, atmospheric grooves which suit her airy reverberated vocals perfectly. Her most realized track ‘Snowcapped Andes Crash’ is one that takes its time, letting her native French tongue to introduce the song before translating these thoughts and fears back into English. It’s ultimately about the intense, confusing realizations one has about death while at the peak of their trip, yet within the music and the vocals Melody again shrouds these terrors in the most soothing vocal performance on the album. It isn’t until the last minutes where she lets the music speak for itself, scaring the listener as well in the process.
Whether it was intentional or not, one of the most brilliant choruses comes in the form of a play on words. In ‘Mount Hopeless’, Melody expresses “As it [acid] goes, I can't explain // Why we feel so uncertain // And as it [acid] stems it fades away // On a hopeful day it does the same
”. Although she isn’t as explicit about her experiences as compared to her tripped-out counterparts, it’s this cabalistic theme consistent throughout the album that makes it all the more seductive. It’s fitting that she ends her trip on a pleasant note, as seen with a sample of a child giggling and babbling in delight in ‘Be Proud of Your Kids’. No matter how blissful one’s trip is, Melody realizes that you must still ground yourself in reality and remember what’s really important to you in life. So be proud of your kids and parents, sisters or brothers, friends and lovers and anyone inbetween.
”Each star, every chance, every smile, show them love “