Listen to this song by fey-indie poster children The Sundays, as led by the ethereally-voiced Harriet Wheeler. This would be the band to inspire a great many indie-pop bands on both sides of the Atlantic, from The Cardigans to Sixpence None The Richer. The song is taken from the band’s 1990 debut album, and accepted as their masterpiece, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.
To me, the Sundays serve as something of a bridge between the 80s and the 90s, from the garish, dance-obsessed, over-produced world of 80s pop to the spare basics of guitar-bass-drum-voice that became so highly valued later. And “Here’s Where the Story Ends” is interestingly titled in that respect; that the aesthetics of pop music were shifting yet again, and that one era was switching over to the next.
Yet, The Sundays and this song didn’t come out of nowhere. The band formed when the Smiths were making waves in Britain, and were making their mark on the way pop music as made by guitar bands. The Sundays were certainly included in this trend, with Harriet Wheeler becoming something of a light-and-airy texture that perhaps is something of a cheerier cousin to that of Morrisey’s contrasting Noel Coward-esque moan.
But, while many bands were allying themselves to the burgeoning baggy scene, centred in the Northwest of Britain at the end of the 80s, The Sundays were bringing it all back home for the next decade. There are no dance-rock textures to be found here. But, the seeds of indie guitar music from that point on could be found in their music, breaking out of provincial Britain and branching out to Europe, and the States, where this album went gold.
If the story was ending in once sense, it was certainly the beginning of another story.
For more information about the Sundays and to hear more music, check out Harriet Wheeler’s MySpace page.