Today’s post is written by Mandy from Circulation Services.
Recently, I’ve been feeling rather nostalgic for music from the ‘90s, no doubt influenced by the number of ‘90s-era singers and bands who are either reuniting or releasing new material. Earlier this year, The Cranberries released Roses, their first album in 11 years, and this month Garbage will release Not Your Kind of People. Luscious Jackson reunited last year, and Fiona Apple will release a new album next month. Come to think of it, No Doubt is scheduled to release an album this year, too. For my contribution to BFGB this week, I thought it was only fitting to write about a lesser-known band from the ‘90s, The Sundays, and their 1990 debut Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.
From 1990 to 1997, the English band The Sundays released three albums to modest success in the United States and abroad. The band is often associated with a style of music known as shoegazing, and their sound carries many of the hallmarks of the style: layered vocals against a backdrop of guitars. The term “shoegazing” comes from the performance style of many of the acts associated with the style; during live performances, the musicians would stand still as if they were looking at their shoes. Other notable shoegazing bands include Lush and Ride.
Reading, Writing and Arithmetic opens with “Skin & Bones,” a nice introduction to guitarist David Gavurin’s low key style and Harriet Wheeler’s lovely, almost fragile-sounding, vocals. The next two songs are only singles released from the album, “Here’s Where the Story Ends” and “Can’t Be Sure.” In “Here’s Where the Story Ends,” Harriet Wheeler looks back on a failed relationship, and sings:
“It’s that little souvenir of a terrible year
which makes my eyes feel sore,
Oh I never should have said the books that you read
were all I loved you for.”
The remaining tracks continue on in the same stylistic vein, particularly my two favorite songs, “You’re Not the Only One I Know” and “Joy.” At 10 songs and 40 minutes, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic is light and airy and perfect for spring. The Sundays quietly faded from public view following the release of their 1997 album “Static & Silence” (which, incidentally, was their highest charting U.S. release), but fans of early ’90s alternative music might enjoy The Sundays, especially their debut.
Check the WRL catalog for Reading, Writing and Arithmetic