Reading, Writing and Arithmetic


The dreamy atmosphere and ethereal sonics of The Sundays provided the perfect backdrop to lead singer Harriet Wheeler’s breathy, heartfelt vocals, beginning on this debut. The English quartet’s 1992 cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” (from Blind) may have made the most commercial impact, but gems like “Here’s Where the Story Ends” and their reliable live-concert closer “Hideous Towns” exemplified the band’s sound just as beautifully.

Miles Marshall Lewis

The Sundays burst on the scene at the tail end of the 1980s with a sound located somewhere in the hazy borderlands between power pop and the melodic guitar rock of the Primitives and the Darling Buds. The band’s core was singer Harriet Wheeler and guitarist David Gavurin, who wrote songs of deep lyrical oddness (“My finest hour/Was finding a pound in the Underground”) and aching melodic beauty. There’s not a weak track anywhere on Reading Writing and Arithmetic, their debut album; it’s a model of jangly late-80s guitar pop, and Wheeler’s voice is a revelation.

Rick Anderson