In June of 2017, just as the release of her third studio album Bon Voyage loomed, French singer-songwriter Melody Prochet suffered a brain aneurysm. The accident that caused the aneurysm was not specified, but it was enough to push the release of Bon Voyage back by an entire year. When Prochet recovered enough to finally release the album in the summer of 2018, it came with the announcement that she would be stepping away from music for an indeterminate amount of time. Some things in life clearly became more important than Melody’s Echo Chamber.
It took half a decade, but now we finally get to witness the return of one of music’s most intoxicating and psychedelic artists. With Emotional Eternal, Protchet has taken a lifetime of experiences and distilled them into a brief blast of excitement that celebrates life for all of its worth.
“I hope the record has that uplifting quality,” Prochet explains. “I wanted to be more grounded and mindful through the process. I guided the sessions with simplicity—a contrast with the maximalism of Bon Voyage and the wilderness of my delusions. I made some big and impactful decisions and changes to my life. It took me to where it is peaceful, and I think the record reflects this. It’s more direct.”
With a survival story and a new child to take care of, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Emotional Eternal represents a completely new start for Prochet. In reality, she doubles down on everything that makes Melody’s Echo Chamber so enthralling: swirling strings, pillowy synths, and rhythms that bounce around your brain in real-time. All the while, Prochet sits on top calling out for connection, best heard on tracks like ‘Pyramids in the Clouds’ and the seven-minute closer ‘Alma_The Voyage’.
While Prochet keeps her sonic signatures intact, the uncertainty and restlessness of Bon Voyage are gone, replaced by a more appeased sense of purpose. “There’s still something to live for / love is all around,” as Prochet claims in ‘A Slow Dawning of Peace’. The songs might be as inscrutable as ever thanks to Prochet’s penchant to hop back and forth between English and French along with the wave of reverb that makes Melody’s Echo Chamber not just a name but a promise. But once you take the time to hear what Prochet is letting out, the album becomes a kind of soothing balm for the struggles of reality.
Take the central thesis from ‘Personal Message’ that goes: “If it suddenly feels that low / Don’t be scared, I was there before / I promise you’re going to find other reasons to dance along.” Prochet isn’t interested in beating you over the head with her life story, though, and tracks like ‘Looking Backwards’ and ‘Where the Water Clears the Illusion’ are purposefully impressionistic so as not to make the album a clear-cut look into Prochet’s diary.
Everything on Emotional Eternal just feels warm and summery. Every languid bassline and keyboard loop serves to throw you further down the rabbit hole, challenging the listener to try and resist Prochet’s sublime songs. In that way, Emotional Eternal works well as an assessment of everything that happened outside of her music. But just like most of her work, Prochet is at her mesmerising best when she hits the perfect notes to put you in a trance, unaware of the real-life strife that had to be endured in order for this album to even see the light of day.
Perhaps Emotional Eternal isn’t the major leap into the unknown that some of the contexts around Melody’s Echo Chamber might make it seem. But as an artist who had no guarantee to ever make it back to this place, Prochet delivers some astoundingly hypnotic tracks that feel joyous and triumphant. Celebrations are rarely about looking into the future – most times, they’re about acknowledging what you had to get through in the past. As far as celebrations go, Emotional Eternal feels completely welcomed and earned.