Release Date: May 6, 2016
Record label: Merge
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Little Scream's long-awaited second album, Cult Following, opens with "Love as a Weapon," a bright and emphatic bit of dance-minded pop that suggests after five years away from the studio, the artist otherwise known as Laurel Sprengelmeyer is ready to have some fun and make some music. Like Little Scream's 2011 debut The Golden Record, Cult Following is impressively ambitious and covers a broad aural palette, from the smart, stylish pop of "Dark Dance" and the passionate indie rock of "Evan" to the moody atmospherics of "The Kissing" and the widescreen finale of "Silent Moon" and "Goodbye Every Body. " While the album doesn't consistently get on the good foot after the first few tracks, there is a tone of playful liberation in this music even when it goes dramatic in the second half, and Little Scream wrangles the massive clouds of sound that make up these pieces with intelligence and authority.
Little Scream's new album, Cult Following, effectively pursues several different musical threads, including upbeat, danceable pop, as on first single, "Love is a Weapon," and spiritually tinged tracks like "Evan. " This genre variety is grounded in full, satisfying synth sounds and guitar riffs that variously recall work by Animal Collective, St. Vincent, Arcade Fire and Tame Impala.
The first single from Little Scream’s second album recasts Laurel Sprengelmeyer as a Bee Gees-indebted art-popper on the grind. The Iowa-born, Montreal-dwelling artist sings in a high, breathy register about fooled hearts and the gift of dance, the flirtatious atmosphere stoked by cheeky guitar and a synth that stutters and slides like a broken zipper. Her 2011 debut, The Golden Record, featured a fair range of guitar-oriented styles—choral post-punk, desert ballads, Horses-indebted spirituals—but nothing as pure pop as this.
Prince may be gone, but his legacy is very much alive. At least, Little Scream – the brainchild of Laurel Sprengelmeyer – channels the essence and spirit of the Purple One on this second album’s first proper song, Love As A Weapon, which pulses with the sensual vitality of the late legend. After that, the record branches off in myriad sonic directions, all imbued with Sprengelmeyer’s own vivid aesthetic.
Laurel Sprengelmeyer, aka Montreal's Little Scream, says her sophomore album was influenced by a visit to a friend's cult-like commune. Finding the experience both compelling and absurd, she was nevertheless struck by the "magnetism of ideas taking shape." It's the perfect description of this 12-song set, the follow-up to 2011's The Golden Record. Whereas that album was the crystallization of 10 years of songwriting, Cult Following's lush sonic landscape never settles on a single idea.