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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Can't Be Sure"

The Sundays - "Can't Be Sure" (1989)

You know this band for their second single "Here's Where The Story Ends"



Ethereally voiced Harriet Wheeler can claim the lion's share for this song's , and her band's success. Twenty six years old when this debut single came out, her voice sounds like a teenager, while her lyrics have a bit more bite than that. "/and did you know desire's a terrible thing/ the worst that I could find/" (Wheeler) is a great example. This is someone who is so cynical they have gone out looking for things worse than desire, but can't find anything, so she wrote a pop song about it.

The song starts off with a great little drum beat and then overlaying guitars. But that's about as interesting the instrumentation gets. That's the point of Dream Pop really, it predates Shoe Gaze and is quieter, but has a similar direction: lay down a musical mood, not a driving song. If there is a bass guitar on the track I can't hear it until two thirds of the way through the song. and when it comes in it's like an afterthought. "Oh Paul, sorry we forgot you were hear mate, go ahead and play for a minute or so." Actually, I guess you can tell when the bass player comes in, it's right after the drummer wakes up and starts playing something different. I think her voice is amazing, and the overlapping guitar parts are technically great, and to be honest, the idea of a teen princess who turns out to be in her mid twenties singing a song about twisted desire is pretty great fun. But the sonic landscape that the band is laying down just kind of slowly puts me to sleep.

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