Static & Silence

CD Cover The Sundays

Review by Darren Gawle

45-second excerpt from "Summertime" (various formats)

If it weren't for the layoff periods between albums more worthy of, say, the Stone Roses or My Bloody Valentine, the influence the Sundays have had on folk-rock in the 1990's would be more obvious. As it is, in five years since they released Blind, the Sundays' students have now become the masters, as it were, with the success of the Cranberries being the best example.

That the Sundays haven't since been relegated to second-division status is largely thanks to an attention to detail which doesn't come at the expense of 'the big picture' (how often does over-production mar the hum-ability of a song?) and, most obviously, to the voice of one Harriet Wheeler. Though she can swoop and soar vocally with the best of them, Wheeler's voice is unique in how natural she sounds, with no contrivance, no evidence of her personality having been destroyed by some L.A. 'voice instructor.'

Static & Silence, like the Sundays' earlier material, makes for some excellent autumn listening, despite the fact that current single is entitled "Summertime." The autumnal sound carries through with the album's other standout track "Cry," with a chorus of mandolins recalling the Smiths' "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want."

In general, the bulk of the material on Static & Silence is strong, with tracks like "Another Flavour" only falling short because they sound so commonplace next to the myriad of other folk-rock bands (how many of them are from Vancouver alone?) that the Sundays have inspired.

First published in Drop-D Magazine on October 24, 1997

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