It's all a matter of balance.

A cherubic voice singing complex lyrics in minor keys to the simple strumming of an acoustic guitar. All the elements are in conflict, yet, when put together, somehow it is pleasing. Soothing. Almost hypnotic.

When the Sundays' lead singer, Harriet Wheeler, and guitarist David Gavurin met seven years ago at England's Bristol College, both studying "artsy things" like literature and languages, they wanted to write lots of songs. And that's all.

So they did.

A few years ago, they added friend and bass player Paul Brindley and drummer Patrick Hannan, and fiddled around a little more with the songs, adding some depth to the gentle sound the duo created. And that's all.

Then a year and a half ago, the band decided to debut its work at a small club in London. It was so spontaneous that the band didn't really even have a name. It didn't matter, though. They had an infectious sound. Within a few months the Sundays were signed to a label and had a No. 1 hit on the independent charts in England.

"We didn't think anything was going to happen when we first started out," recalls Gavurin. "We weren't one of those bands that had a name and an album cover worked out before they even record a song. Harriet and I just started writing songs." And it went from there.

Gavurin calls his songs "impressionistic" or "open-ended." "We like to leave people a little confused," he explains, "but we aren't difficult. There's no sort of code that can be applied to it. People should dive into it and respond to it the way they want to. And it's not like other pop music, the 'I love you, babe' music. It's a bit more realistic."

That's where the balance comes in. Their music is just this side of pop. It's a little serious, definitely more meaty, yet ethereal and sweet -- what Edie Brickell could be when she grows up.

"We like the juxtaposition -- having that sweet honey voice singing more meaningful lyrics," says Gavurin. "We like the conflict."

The Sundays are making their Washington debut at the 9:30 club Tuesday night. Doors open at 8. For information, call 393-0930.