“Welcome to the Brain” is pure ingenuity, considering Little Scream hasn’t produced an album since the 2011 debut The Golden Record. It’s the subsequent material in Cult Following that lets the audience pull back the veil once again to the genius world of Laurel Sprengelmeyer. The opening song gives way to the sophomore album’s prestige for wide-open melodies and mature backbone structure.
Sprengelmeyer did herself a favor back in 2011 by bringing in Richard Reed Perry of Arcade Fire as co-producer. She kept with the tradition in Cult Following. The new album features indie-heavyweights Sufjan Stevens, TV on the Radio, and The National. The artistry is unmistakable. The compilation has impulses of echoing vocals, swirling chants and dreamy openness.
The second track, “Love is a Weapon”, opens with a familiar sound that anyone could easily recognize as pop. Though, the special things are so critical to pull out. First of all, the bass line is pulled down a few octaves and muffled, which allows for it and all the other instruments to stand out. Second, Sprengelmeyer shows off her childhood roots of being a Jehovah’s Witness practitioner. The song’s vague lyrics are outweighed by the meaningful pleasantries to start things over when you fail. It’s a weird form that fits in with people’s connections to positive thinking.
True to the dark nature of Arcade Fire, “Evan” tracks with the spiritual musings like conversations with the devil and praying. The song does have a open sense of lightheartedness, but the unorthodox sadness of Arcade Fire is dominant. Serious spirituality is in the spotlight when vibes from the song steer clear of blind following. Although “Evan” is catchy, the segue, “Aftermath” provides the high-energy overlap to the second half of an orchestrated thriller.
The mid-album track, “The Kissing” leaves me awe-struck by the shear beauty that Little Scream shares. The poetic “every disaster has a beautiful start” is suddenly bombarded with a pounding pre-chorus. Sprengelmeyer leaves me hanging on every word in this spacious expression that includes a well-deserved, resounding finish.
Sufjan Stevens and The National share influence over the falsetto, earthy feeling, “Wishing Well” and “Someone Will Notice”. The album resonates with lovers of Tim Burton films because of songs like these. They both jump from the cute gestures to the suspenseful tags. “Someone Will Notice” is layered in percussion and off-tune melodies. The song relives the true stories of death that Sprengelmeyer shares.
Though the album is surrounded by uncanny professionalism, it still has uncertain traits of lengthly tracks. The songs are well-written. Though, I would advise a cut off by a certain point. This preserves the otherwise flawless shifting of dynamics.
Cult Following gleams through the unfiltered music realm to prove the worthiness of triumphant taste. The unfolding songs exhibit Little Scream’s precision with various instruments. The indie-pop album is worth every listen, and throws out anchors to the massively creative producers.
Indie Alternative | Merge Records