Since its 2012 release, Melody Prochet’s self-titled debut album as Melody’s Echo Chamber has quietly become a modern classic. This is partly due to producer Kevin Parker’s ascendence to the main stage with Lonerism’s release that same year, but (aside from the music itself) due in large part to the mystery behind Prochet’s development. While she teased “Shirim” in 2014, it wasn’t until 2018, following a brain aneurysm and an unspecified accident that her follow-up Bon Voyage came out. On that record, Prochet cannily traded Parker in for Dungen, without sacrificing her maximalism. Although a great album in its own right, it failed to meet the lofty expectation of her debut and Prochet waited another four years before finding her footing once more.
Emotional Eternal is about as restrained as you can imagine Prochet. Sure, the arrangements are still huge and encompassing, like on the swelling “Where the Water Clears the Illusion”, but these efforts are scattershot and often muted by Prochet’s own reluctance towards inhabiting any kind of persona. Like Bon Voyage, Emotional Eternal features Reine Fiske’s psychedelic accompaniment, which even at its most refined still allows these “smaller” songs room to spread out. The longest track, “Alma_The Voyage, named after Prochet’s daughter, is as drawn out as these arrangements get, with a relatively soft, ode to motherhood embellished by violins and EBows, until the jazzy improvisation takes over halfway through. At that point, the album finally succumbs to its impulses, letting go of the personal anecdotes of airplane men and bucolic bliss, in favor of the unknown.
Melody’s Echo Chamber as a project will always be forced into comparison with its debut, and thus always be pulled toward the high-gloss macro. Prochet to her credit, has been able to wiggle into that narrow restriction, a surprising amount of diversity. While the likes of an all-acoustic or electronic album may need to be billed under Prochet’s name proper, as long as she is able to paint deceptively disparate pictures with the same palette, an album like Emotional Eternal will still prove a success.