British band makes waves with “Static and Silence”

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    By CHRIS PETERSON

    It has been five years in the waiting.

    “Static and Silence,” the long-awaited third album from the Sundays, hit stores Tuesday. For Sundays’ fans, this is exciting news.

    Whether or not one has heard the swoopy and mellow music of the Sundays, “Static and Silence” might be an album to check out.

    The Sundays’ career started off much like a fairy tale back in London during the summer of 1988. Singer/songwriter-duo Harriet Wheeler and David Gavurin wrote a few songs, formed a four-piece band and set out to gain some live experience by performing at a local London club. Music journalists there to review the headlining act ended up focusing on the Sundays, who were opening. After rave reviews of their first show, the Sundays’ career began.

    “We’d barely played a gig — let alone recorded a note,” Gavurin said in a press release.

    “We knew next to nothing about the music business,” Wheeler said.

    So, after doing a little music-business homework, the Sundays signed a record deal with independent label Rough Trade. They recorded a single in 1989 and it hit the top of the independent charts. In early 1990 they released their first album “Reading, Writing and Arithmetic” on DGC Records, and it went gold in both the United Kingdom and the United States with help from the popular single, “Here’s Where the Story Ends.”

    The follow-up album “Blind” was released in 1992 and also went gold. After returning from extensive world touring, the Sundays took a long break to prepare for “Static and Silence.” Gavurin and Wheeler rediscovered their social life, had a baby, painted the bathroom red and put together their own studio where they wrote and recorded the bulk of “Static and Silence.”

    Past Sundays albums have been criticized for being too invariant. “Static and Silence” combats these criticisms by offering an album of 12 songs that vary by instrument usage, mood, tempo and energy. Lyrically, the album is much more personal and straight-forward than previous Sundays albums. Musically, the album touches on stylings formerly untouched by the band.

    “Summertime,” the first single, presents an upbeat feel based on a funky, smooth guitar riff adorned with a horn section.

    “Another Flavor” taps into a harder edged sound. Gavurin’s guitars distort over the fast-paced, deep groove of the rhythm section.

    Gavurin’s signature, shimmering guitar style, however, is still present. As well as Wheeler’s sweet, fluttering vocals. This album does not present a radical shift by the Sundays, just some changes.

    “It’s an atmospheric record,” Wheeler said. “It’s less grounded in ambient music than ‘Blind.’ It’s not as youthfully pop as the first album.”

    “She,” the fourth song on the album, mixes a straight-forward acoustic guitar rhythm with sweeping strings, a quick, yet gentle percussive beat, slightly distorted electric guitar swells and soft, delicate vocals sung by Wheeler.

    “We don’t feel part of the current trends in British music,” Gavurin said. “We’re just plowing our own furrow somewhere to the side of what’s going on.”

    “We like to think we’ve got our own style, our own character,” Wheeler said.

    It is a great album. More success awaits the band who has been able to do things their own way from the very beginning.

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