This month, Insound takes a detailed look at a few of their current favorite album cover designs.
Ganglians – Monster Head Room (Weird Forest/Woodsist)
Not only has Ganglians’ album Monster Head Room captured our musical hearts with its perfect mix of sunny vocal harmonies, garage fuzz and touch of African guitar work but the accompanying illustrations by Tony Fauci seem to have hit on our design fancy as well. Fauci’s illustrations are playful and plentiful with the real brilliance being the sum of the album’s parts here. The front cover sets the hook but when combined with the vivacious gatefold center spread and accompanying 7” it makes a pretty great package. The addition of the 7” seems a bit unorthodox at first but since just two tracks from the CD version need to spill over to another disc it seems like a fun addition to design a nice accompaniment instead of just pressing the extra tracks to a second 12”.
Eluvium – Life Through Bombardment (Temporary Residence, Ltd)
As far as album covers go this one’s probably as labor intensive as its going to get. Since this is a 7xLP box set containing every Eluvium song ever, wrapped in hard-bound, linen covered book jacket and each individual LP sleeve contains a new piece of artwork by longtime Eluvium cover designer Jeannie Lynn Paske; “album cover” doesn’t really capture the grandeur of this set. The cover itself contains one of Paske’s stark drawings that lie somewhere between heartbreaking children’s book illustrations and faceless dystopian landscapes. Paske’s artwork has come to mirror the emotional breadth of Eluvium’s music and here it is given a properly lush space to showcase itself.
The cover of Sacred Bones’ round up of largely unheard tracks from Belgian cold wave band The Cultural Decay pays homage to the band’s 80’s origins and both their urban punk aesthetic and bleak outlook. Cast against a portrait of the band hunkered down in a squat apartment building and offset with a clean minimalist color scheme, the cover acts as a pretty accurate extension of the tense, raw rhythms contained within. Sacred Bones has cut a pretty iconic niche for themselves with their run of newer full lengths whose covers echo 60’s Library recordings but its good to see that the label can stray from this design crutch and still keep things aesthetically essential.
The Cultural Decay detail:
Beck – Odelay 10th Anniversary Box Set (Original Recordings Group)
By now Beck’s Odelay is a chronicled catalog classic, with everyone from tweens to your Nana probably owning a copy, so what pray tell could make you want to purchase another copy of the album? Well for starters how about repackaging it in a 4xLP hard-bound book with altered artwork and a nice bit of blue foil embossing on the cover. Big Active studios in London re-imagined the cover as a beat-up dollar bin gem complete with bored afternoon doodles that transform that jumping mop of a dog (it is a dog right?) on the cover into an approximation of your notebook from third period algebra after a fairly brutal explanation of simple polynomial factoring.
HEALTH – Get Color (Lovepump United)
This one hasn’t quite hit our hot little hands just yet but that hasn’t kept us from admiring HEALTH’s design consistency. You’ve got to hand it to the band, they do know how to pick a theme and run with it, and this latest incarnation of HEALTH’s simple molecular mock-ups is perfectly hued in enough pink and turquoise to bring to mind their sand-blasted take on dance. Plus, those cellular images couldn’t be more perfectly paired to a band that seems to burrow itself nicely under your skin.