Spirit of Eden has not dated; it’s remarkable how contemporary it sounds, anticipating post-rock, the Verve and Radiohead. It’s the sound of an artist being given the keys to the kingdom and returning with art. Yet upon completion it was seen as utter commercial suicide, as if Duran Duran had released a krautrock, free jazz, gospel album after Notorious. EMI responded by suing Hollis for being wilfully obscure and un-commercial, much as when David Geffen sued Neil Young for not sounding Neil Young enough. This ridiculous case was eventually thrown out of court yet it had a long lasting impact on the music industry. The lawsuit set the precedent for the clause that a band’s recordings have to be of a commercially satisfactory nature.
I’d like to think that, if Portishead and My Bloody Valentine can reappear after spending a decade or so out of the limelight, that Mark Hollis/Talk Talk could do the same, but I suppose that’s really wishful thinking. Ah well, guess it’s time to pull out that copy of Spirit Of Eden again. Via