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Bon Voyage (Inertia)

Clearly it is the season for music that lands in that territory between naïve and knowing, between trippy and pretty, between psych rock and psych pop, between France and the UK, between American west coast visions and east coast practicalities, between retro electronica and the soft end of ye-ye.

As with Kadhja Bonet, who was reviewed here recently, Melody Prochet makes music which on first hearing sounds borderline over-sweetened and out of focus, like kids let loose in the studio before class or adults let loose in the studio after pulling more than a few cones.

Most of the time she sings quite high, and some of the time she sings even higher, her voice either in the clouds or maybe made up of clouds. Around her guitars weave and dodge, synthesisers wink, drums roll and scatter. Given she is as likely to sing in Swedish or French as English (bloody multi-lingual Europeans showing off again!) she can leave a greater number of people in doubt about what she’s singing about too.

It’s spaced out, man. Just close your eyes and let the sun dance on the inside of your lids, and don’t expect it to mean anything when you’re straight. Or that’s how it seems at first.

Until you go around again and notice the guitar solo in Quand Les Larmes D’un Ange Font Danser La Neige is perfectly Pink Floydish; that the woozy rhythm and North African woodwind of Desert Horse collides with vocoder-ed and sometimes manically escalating voice; that there’s something not quite right about the romance being told, but something quite groovy about the flute solo being played, in Cross My Heart; that you could almost see Shirim on some modern pop record with its light and flighty melody.

Taking from Stereolab and XTC more than The Association and The Free Design, Prochet – whose previous album, six years ago, featured heavy contributions from Kevin Parker of Tame Impala – wears her psychedelia casually now, amping up the pop instead.

Breathe In, Breathe Out, for example, feels like a Kylie Minogue song spun through a Wurlitzer, and Va Har Du Vart?, even at a mere 1 minute 28 seconds, practically demands a filmclip of pretty young things dancing under and with brightly coloured umbrellas.

It’s not a pop album of course. As catchy and accessible, and as in many ways undemanding as this is, it would scare the whitebread eaters and perplex the square-eyed programmers with its odd squalls of sound and free spirit tunes (Visions Of Someone Special, On A Wall Of Reflections flatters to deceive the easily scared even as it warms whatever it touches), not to mention a wispy voice that has rarely been allowed near commercial centres for very long.

But there’s something about the blending of flavours here which works on your pleasure centres, and makes it clear the album’s title isn’t saying goodbye but rather promising a nice little excursion.

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