The first impression of Little Scream, a.k.a Laurel Sprengelmeyer’s, Golden Record is melancholy. That’s not surprising—a certain darkness is definitely part of the intention for an artist named Little Scream, and the album begins with haunting, angelic cries. But soon enough, shades of joy and exuberance come clear, making this a dynamic and solid entry into the Canadian pop scene. There are strains of Wintersleep, and a stronger dose of the almost saccharine, military marches made recognizable by Arcade Fire. But the excellent production, raw in the right doses, prevent the record from being too precious, as with “Guyegaros,” a beautifully dark and masculine country ballad. “Cannons,” meanwhile, highlights Sprengelmeyer’s rhythmic vocal quirks, reminiscent of pop renegade Regina Spektor.
Probably the strongest comparison is to Land of Talk’s most recent album Cloak and Cipher. Both Little Scream and Land of Talk succeed in similar ways, bringing a feminine, inventive twist to both traditional and modern pop effects, but where Cloak and Cipher missed the mark, Golden Record makes an impact. Little Scream’s voice—both literal and artistic—is confident, thoughtful and playful. The appearances of hand claps, boot stomps and harpsichord will also satisfy indie lovers.
Stand-out track “Red Hunting Jacket” asks, “Why am I so? Why are you so? Why are we so?” This complex line of questioning juxtaposes the simple statement on the disc sleeve: “I am glad you are here.” Be sure to read the insert, which, instead of lyrics, holds “some of the facts, laws and phenomena of the great hereafter” (i.e. poems and personal stories related to the album) it deepen the tension that this album presents. Golden Record is definitely made along both intellectual and sensual lines. However, if you just want a sweetly dark, distinctly Canadian pop album, then what Little Scream has offered here won’t disappoint.