Release Date: Apr 12, 2011
Record label: Secretly Canadian
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Folk
The Golden Record opens with an ethereal, echoing melody that sounds as though it’s being sung from the altar of a cathedral. An acoustic guitar slowly enters the mix, then the distant thump of a kickdrum, followed by background harmonies and a hazy, watercolor swirl of orchestral instruments. The rest of Little Scream’s debut follows suit, flitting between scaled-down folk music and lush, widescreen panoramas of sound.
"Oh, I don't know who I am, and I don't know what I'll be," coos Laurel Sprengelmeyer of Little Scream, above acoustic guitars that run like rivulets. Sprengelmeyer sings her self-doubt at the start of the second verse of "The Heron and the Fox", the quietly reflective, sadly nostalgic centerpiece of her stellar debut, The Golden Record. An Iowa native now living in Montreal and recording there with members of Arcade Fire, the National, and A Silver Mt.
If you slightly recall being exposed to newcomer Laurel Sprengelmeyer, aka Little Scream, amongst the random samples you’ve tried this spring, you probably heard the mollified acoustic guitar and gracious lyrics of the single, The Heron And The Fox. If you dismissed the rest of The Golden Record in fear of getting sucked into nine additional tracks of sweet and folksy minimalism, you’d be doing yourself a disservice. It appears this freshman is quite the explorer.
Maybe you’re like me and somewhere toward the end of 2011, the knee-jerking snobby side of yourself felt disenchanted by the spin and swell of sycophancy for the cool-weird, the hip-acerbica, the beautiful-snarl of indie songstresses like St. Vincent or tUnE-yArDs; those big, glossy, ad-packed zines got it, they seemed to down with it, they’re (trying) to speak your language. I tire of these halfhearted, quick/dirty, faux-edgy-airings from jittery music journos prattling on about -the beautifully-haunting, -the elegantly-caustic, -the pretty girl making scary sounds.
Laurel Sprengelmeyer, the woman behind Little Scream, titled her debut album after a 1977 space expedition by the Voyager Space shuttle. That trip delivered a time capsule of music, sound, and language meant to represent Earth to other life forms in the future. The Golden Record takes a similarly lofty aim, with a sound that stretches out to reach the astral plane, but manages a more convincing form of communication.