ARTIST: The Sundays
TITLE: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic
YEAR RELEASED: 1990
CHART ACTION: #39 US, #4 UK
SINGLES: Can’t Be Sure (#45 UK), Here’s Where the Story Ends (#1 US Modern)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: My Finest Hour (maybe???)
LINEUP: Harriet Wheeler, David Gavurin, Paul Brindley, Patrick Hannan
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Jangly pop music with subtly dark undertones, featuring a great soprano voice.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The guitars jangle along, the singer has a pleasant soprano, and on first listen, this is a happy record. But it’s not, and that’s great.
The jangles are minor key jangles more often than not, and the lyrics evoke more of relationships gone wrong than shiny happy joy joy. “Here’s Where the Story Ends”, “I Kicked a Boy”, “Hideous Towns” and “You’re Not the Only One I Know” demonstrate this to the fullest. Wheeler’s voice soars to great effect when needed, and she’s not afraid to get a little experimental in phrasing and tone.
Gavurin weaves his jangly guitar around Wheeler’s voice to great effect. While not as virtuosotic as Johnny Marr (who is?) it does evoke the Smith’s sound a bit in guitar sound and structure of the songs. This is a fine collection for those who don’t mind sour with their sweet pop lines.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Here’s Where the Story Ends” was never released as a proper single in the UK thanks to the collapse of their record company. However, the airplay of that song boosted the record up the charts.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: A-: A sweet and sour pleasure.