Melody’s Echo Chamber
5th March 2013
Louder Than War’s Will Dix enjoys the vivid and dreamy music at Melody’s Echo Chamber’s recent London gig.
The stage looks drab and undecorated tonight as I make my way into the Scala’s main room. Instruments and amps are laid out in near-circular formation while a tatty, old waiting room chair sits in the middle for support act Sean Nicholas Savage. The place looks more like an unloved rehearsal room than anywhere worth seeing a gig, so thank heavens headliners Melody’s Echo Chamber are a band with songs so vivid and dreamy that, once opener ‘I Follow You’ begins to ripple through the PA, aesthetics cease to be relevant.
The view does pick up from second number ‘Endless Shore’ onwards with some colourful, psychedelic projections, but by then it seems an unnecessary affectation. Evidently, MEC can work subtlety extremely well. Though met with little hype and absent from most ‘best of 2012’ lists, their self-titled debut album, released October last year, has clearly made its way around the blogosphere enough to fill out this thousand capacity King’s Cross club. Producer Kevin Parker (of Tame Impala fame) may have left his stamp all over the record, but MEC in the flesh is in complete control of frontwoman and songwriter Melody Prochet et al.
The extended climaxes of ‘Bisou Magique’ and ‘Crystallized’ we’re treated to tonight come across like jams, though not one bar passes leaving us waiting for something to happen. Prochet’s introduction of a live drummer to her band is a smart move, not only because it makes these structural expansions possible, but it also gives the rhythm section a much greater texture throughout. Simple indie-pop numbers such as ‘You Won’t Be Missing That Part of Me’ and ‘Some Time Alone, Alone’ thusly punch much harder than could ever be expected of a drum machine.
The main set ends with album closer ‘Be Proud of Your Kids’, sounding, similar to much of Melody’s work, like an effortless merging of Can, Broadcast and Jefferson Airplane. “We have no more songs,” announces Melody, as she and her Echo Chamber return for an encore, “but we have a jam.” As jams go, it’s a pretty tight one. In fact, give it a name and it could easily pass for a new song. I’m a sucker for any kind of live improv but this is exciting for another reason: if MEC at their loosest can sound as though they’re playing material rehearsed a thousand times, whatever any future LP or single holds can be nothing short of spectacular. On the basis of tonight’s gig, it seems no wild claim that Prochet could overtake the likes of Tame Impala, Pond or The Horrors as the main spearhead of modern psychedelia.
All words by Will Dix. Picture by Matthew C Saville.