Little Scream makes catchy indie electro-pop, the kind you can certainly shimmy to in your local discotheque. That said, some songs here go pretty deep and dark. Some of the guests on this record are pretty impressive: think Kyp Malone from TV On The Radio, Sharon Van Etten, and Mr Sufjan Stevens himself! Cult Following is out on Merge.
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This busy main street of a record comes from the inspiringly positive Laurel Sprengelmeyer, a synth-pop artist who plays with the gloopy bluster of ‘Age of Adz’ era Sufjan and the disco implications of the excellent Mozart’s Sister. It’s bright in ways the sun never is here, and full to the brim of ideas, each one democratically layered onto the last. If this sounds like a pic ‘n’ mix stall as an album, then worry not: Sprengelmeyer plays with her textures in ways both thrilling and ominous, as is clear from first song proper “Love As a Weapon”, whose foreboding synth squelch recalls the noisier elements of St. Vincent’s newer electronic tunes.
‘Cult Following’ may be an intense and dizzying record, but it’s also well prepped, asking you to take your seat before it blows your goddamn mind. Sprengelmeyer plays with her musical flourishes so as to twist and turn -- “Dark Dance” begins with Sprengelmeyer’s voice diluted in the mix, playing alongside tidy beatwork and bright synths. Around the two minute mark it starts to sparkle, as if it’s built a reference point to jump off of. “Evan” jumps off the end of “Introduction to Evan” with a burst of noisy bluster into a downbeat, steadily intoned tune that rises and falls around twang, string arrangements and distorted riffage. It goes from crystal clear to style-cramped in seconds.
I like it when artists show you every fucking thing they can do in a compact eleven or twelve songs -- aspiration is cool, and execution is even cooler. ‘Cult Following’ proves that Sprengelmeyer can own her versatility, that she can make a lil’ ballad amidst the bravado on the twilit guitar ditty “Wishing Well”. This is really good stuff, even if it’s sometimes a little stuffed with stuff.
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