The Sundays weren’t doing too much differently. In the previous decade, The Replacements had their edgy jaunt, Rickie Lee Jones had their unashamed sentimentalism, The Smiths had their riffs. At the start of a new age, and a refreshal of the consumer market, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic was equal parts mournful and joyous. Its effect is difficult to calculate, given the band’s fade from mainstream culture, but the ingenuous vocal melodies and sophisticated depth will be gorgeous to most functioning ear canals. Any prettier and it would be cloying; any more intricate and it would be cerebral; any poppier and it would be too broad. Good job it’s spotless.
A favourite: ‘You’re Not the Only One I Know’