Stream Little Scream Cult Following (Stereogum Premiere)

Montreal pop experimenter Little Scream is set to drop her latest full-length offering, Cult Following, this week. Wandering with her through different soundscapes, moods, and energy levels is an invigorating, wonderfully disorienting experience. Each of the four singles she’s shared ahead of the album starkly contrast each other, and things get even more far-flung from there — a testament to all-star contributors Sufjan Stevens, Sharon Van Etten, and members of the National and TV On The Radio. It’s a collection of constantly evolving, evocative trips into the mind of Laurel Sprengelmeyer.

To give a sense of the album’s diversity: The bouncy, funk-tinged “Love As a Weapon” gives way to the shimmering, jumpy, synth-soaked “Dark Dance” before a brief interlude readies for the switch to the low-end heavy, slightly shoegazing “Evan.” The dreamy, dark-shaded fantasy of “Silent Moon” feels like it could be on an entirely different album completely, lost on its own synthy, gloomy voyage.

But it’s not just deft transitions between tracks that keep the ear engaged. There are often delightfully dizzying changes within songs, altering temperament, energy, emotions, and vibe. “The Kissing” embodies this project’s exploratory spirit, lulling listeners with a folky, ballad-esque beginning before sliding into pop and then careening into shoegazing art rock.

Sprengelmeyer’s lyrics wander just as much as the music, but her words are firmly rooted in a talent for the evocative and inventive. Whether it’s inward reflection, exploration of self though romantic relationships, or contemplation on what it means to err as a human being — it’s alluring and consistently novel. The sheer audacity of Little Scream’s unbridled exploration is enough to force any listener to engage with this album. Stream Cult Following in its entirety below.

Cult Following is out 5/6 on Merge (and, in Canada, Dine Alone).