This British act, led by Harriet Wheeler, was always one of the more uplifting members of the shoe-gazer crowd, a point emphasized here by lovely lead single "Summertime" (which was released at precisely the wrong time of the year, sadly). The five-year hiatus from their last album has created a more mature, strum-along sound best heard on "Homeward," the guitar-textured "Another Flavor," and the orchestral "She." As for Wheeler, she's enchanting even when singing a track called "Monochrome." --Jeff Bateman
The Sundays' career seems, with hindsight, to have been one of a band who may have been a little before their time. True enough, their sound may have seemed to have been mainly forged out of a melding of those two 80s icons, The Smiths and The Cocteau Twins - all fey vocals and flanged, jangling guitars - but it was a wilfully more commercial take on the formula. Their legacy in the UK may have faded somewhat, but their influence on US college-based rock is still felt today.
Time may not have been as kind to Static & Silence as many of its contemporaries: Unfortunately one can easily see why their poppy, lighthearted fare seems so suited to its frequent role as either atmospheric soundtracking to stateside teenage dramas (their music has been used in both Buffy and The OC) or as a signifier for shows wishing to convey 'young, carefree and hip' (this album's 'Another Flavour' was used as the theme tune to comedian David Baddiel's show). But if this makes Satic & Silence sound shallow it's only by association. It's a lovely collection of summery pop rock, all balancing on Harriet Wheeler's delightfully sparkling voice.
Recorded after a lengthy hiatus (self-enforced by Wheeler and co-founder Dave Gavurin's break to have a child) Static... was a much chirpier collection than the previous album, Blind. Featuring their most successful single, the slightly funky (in a late 80s indie kind of way) ''Summertime'', it still played to all their strengths; filled with songs that are gossamer light (to the point of non-existence) but still hauntingly effective, such as the other best cut here; ''Monochrome'' (about watching the '69 moon landings).
Other highlights include the aforementioned 'Another Flavour' and the whispy 'Folk Song'. But Static & Silence should really be seen as a whole piece and as a completion to a fine run of three albums. Now on permanent break, who knows whether we'll ever see more from this seminal band? --Chris Jones
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