In the late 80s, around about the same time as The Smiths split up, major record labels began to look around for the next big thing.
And when they found an act that was getting any sort of traction with “the kids”, they signed them up, shoved them into a studio and got them to churn out an album that was nowhere near as good as they had been when they were on a teeny little indie label.
At least, that’s how it seemed to us at the time; these bands had sold out, taken the corporate dollar, and everything they would release from that point had no artistic value whatsoever.
I can look back now and see just how naive that viewpoint was: what band, when the majors came calling, wouldn’t shake their hand? Of course you would. You don’t know how long your shelf life is, so take the cash whilst it’s there, and hope your contract is good enough that you don’t have to pay everything back to them.
That said, there is definitely a correlation between acts who were blazing a trail on the Indie Scene back then, and their output after they got signed up, and rushed into a glossier, shinier world of ‘product’.
Which begs the question: did they become shit because they signed to a major, or did they only really have a couple of good songs in the first place?
A case in point: this, with it’s Sisters of Mercy-esque sleeve (they sound nothing like them, by the way) is excellent, but I can’t find anything after this worthy of note, which is a shame, because this is so great. Imagine early Echo & The Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes having a jam and then turn it up to 11. Or save your imagination for other things and just listen to it: