[sic] Magazine

Little Scream – The Golden Record

The Golden Record takes a little time to reveal itself. You could say it has a fourth-date, self-imposed kind of restraint to it, but to place it in the near-infinite timescale of the golden records that accompany the Voyager crafts on their ongoing mission out of the known galaxy may be a step too far.

Either way, with a supporting cast that includes producer Richard Parry and violinist Sarah Neufeld (both of Arcade Fire fame), Pat McGee (of much-underrated outfit Stars ), Becky Foon (of the fluid Silver Mt. Zion member-base), The Golden Record is also less a case of its label namesake – Secretly Canadian – and more a case of being flagrantly so.

This is something dually true, since Little Scream (multi-instrumentalist Laurel Sprengelmeyer ), who despite growing up on the banks of the Mississippi, now calls herself a Montréalaise. These roots only become evident the once though, as, during “Guyegaros”, steely, reverbed blues-rock chords prove highly satisfactory companion to Sprengelmeyer’s breathy, Patti Smith -like vocal style. Jutting out of The Golden Record , it’s a strong statement of a song somewhere along the lines of a warning: “Trespassers Beware”.

More representative of the collection however, “Your Radio” is a lightly shimmering, orchestral affair. And it’s a genuine surprise to find fellow Canadian and arranger-of-choice Owen Pallett hasn’t has his hand in it, nor in the jaunty stabs of percussion and fluttery wind instrumentation on display in “Red Hunting Jacket”. Sprengelmeyer herself also has range, sashaying from gravel-ly gymnastics and emotive bleating in the latter of the these two tracks to the slightly offbeat, polished-gemstone sort of quirkiness that Glasser , as heard on “Cannons” (curious injections of keyboard-organ/synth and all), has recently been parading. Early on in the running order, the melancholic pairing of “Black Cloud” and the whispery rendition of “The Heron And The Fox”, the latter of which features guitar contribution from The National ‘s Aaron Dessner , also place the record more squarely in safer, singer-songwriting territory for a time.

Few records could close credibly with two minutes of rain and wind chimes, yet The Golden Record does, and it seems to make sense too. Though there’s truth in it being a “rainy day-type record”, there’s also a poise and interest to it that focuses its lesser excerpts, avoids reliance on any one element, and, though perhaps not full of immediacy, it’s nevertheless an album that strips down under repeated attention to very ample reward.

Advised downloads: “Guyegaros” and “Cannons”.


~The Golden Record is released April 11th 2011 on Secretly Canadian .~