- Released: April 17, 1990
- Originally Released: 1990
- Label: Geffen Records
Rolling Stone - 6/14/903.5 Stars
- Very Good - "...an alluring slice of lighter-than-air guitar pop, a collection of uncommonly good songs graced by Harriet Wheeler's wondrous singing..."
"...unique as some new species of animal." - Rating: A-
Q - 8/96, p.1414 Stars
- Excellent - "...it deserves a frame in the great British gallery of indie classics....gorgeous examples of jangly bedst pop, decorated by Harriet Wheeler's dulcet tones....a sweet, sexy, sticky toffe pudding of a record..."
NME (Magazine) - 10/2/93, p.29Ranked #92
in NME's list of the 'Greatest Albums Of All Time.'
NME (Magazine) - 6/1/96, p.460 (out of 10)
- "...Harriet Wheeler's breathily emotive vocals and...pristine pop...once made The Sundays one of the biggest indie bands on the planet..."
- 1.Skin & Bones
- 2.Here's Where the Story Ends
- 3.Can't Be Sure
- 4.I Won
- 5.Hideous Towns
- 6.You're Not the Only One I Know
- 7.A Certain Someone
- 8.I Kicked a Boy
- 9.My Finest Hour
Song previews provided courtesy of iTunes
Personnel: Harriet Wheeler (vocals); David Gavurin (guitar); Patrick Hannan (drums).
The Sundays emerged at the end of the '80s, with their demeanor and acoustic pop at odds with the house explosion and baggy phenomenon of the time. Despite this, READING, WRITING & ARITHMETIC is as compelling as anything to come out of Manchester or an 808 drum machine. Identified as a female-led version of the Smiths, such comparisons were borne out by the dynamics of the Sundays' central duo and the quality of this debut release.
David Gavurin's guitar-playing undoubtedly evokes the unpretentious expression of Johnny Marr, whether gently chiming over "Can't Be Sure," gaily strumming for the coda of "My Finest Hour," or whipping up a racket on "A Certain Someone." Harriet Wheeler's voice is from another world entirely: soaring, pure, acrobatic, doleful, and with a penchant for the self-possessed babbling of Liz Fraser. Where intelligible, the lyrics take Morrissey's conversational style and predilection for colloquialisms to the extreme, delivered from the perspective of a melancholic girl wracked by self-consciousness and pity. Each of the 10 tracks boasts an effortless sense of melody and depth of emotion that, together, belittle any attempt to offer praise. READING, WRITING & ARITHMETIC is simply perfect.