Cargo, London, November 6
Right now Melody Prochet can do no wrong, although it wasn’t always the case. It takes time to become an overnight success, and Prochet spent years trying to make it in her whimsical Paris-based psyche troupe, My Bee’s Garden. Enter Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, on whom she foisted a CD of songs upon at an opportune moment following a Tame show in Paris. Kev came a-knocking, Melody became Melody’s Echo Chamber (with Parker on production duties), and her stock has been on the rise ever since.
Playing her first headline show in London tonight, nobody really knows what to expect. The stage looks like a botanic garden with the mic stands decked in flowers, but worryingly there’s no drumkit. Production-wise Melody’s many-layered, self-titled debut is at times labyrinthine in its complexity, and without Parker one wonders if she and her modest crew can pull it off. They appear, in the classic boy/girl boy/girl formation popularised by Abba (one of the chaps even has a beard) and ‘Endless Shore’ kicks things off. If everything has gone swimmingly up to this point, then here comes the wobble. Levels are skew-whiff, the drum loop wheezes out of the speakers, and for a horrible moment it feels like triumph might elude Prochet on this most important of nights. However, the foreboding is short-lived.
‘Mount Hopeless’ is a success, with Melody’s blocks of keyboard sound and breathy vocals complemented by a pulsating groove underneath. ‘I Follow You’, one of the most joyous and shimmeringly psychedelic singles of the year, is pure rapture distilled. With just one album of material out, a full headline set presents problems (there’ll be no encore), so points are awarded for choosing an obscure Serge Gainsbourg song to cover. ‘Jane B’, originally sung by Jane Birkin, is sultry and louche. ‘Bisou Magique’ follows and she apologises for playing a second song in French. When not saying sorry, she’s thanking the crowd for being here, genuinely overcome.
By ‘Quand Vas Tu Rentrer?’ she’s lost in the hypnotic percussion, flinging her hair in all directions. The best is saved for last, with a dreamy ‘Crystallized’ building to a mighty outro, the drum sounds nearly tearing through the speakers as a cloud of guitar feedback fills the room. For a second the PA splutters and the sheer force of sound threatens to take the whole thing down, but come the conclusion Melody’s Echo Chamber only bring the house down.