Sometimes, it seems as if the state of sound in 2011 is stronger than the state of song. Case in point: The Golden Record
, the first release from Iowa-born, Montreal-based songwriter Little Scream (Laurel Sprengelmeyer). Layered and intricate, the album---featuring Arcade Fire’s Richard Perry as co-producer---oscillates between dense anthems and sparse, breakable ballads. It’s likely one of the best sounding records you’ll hear all year. But aside from a couple of gems (the glistening “Cannons,” the Cat Power-echoing “Guyegaros”) the melodies aren’t as memorable as the soundscapes. It’s a debut worth paying attention to, though one suspects Sprengelmeyer’s talent with sound won’t eclipse her songwriting forever.