Friday, 7 September 2007


Indie band Hard-Fi's new album cover features simply the band's name, the album title; 'Once Upon A Time In The West' and the text 'No Cover Art'. The cover is a response to the band to their debut album, 'Stars Of CCTV' which featured the silhouette of a security camera and won Best Record Sleeve of 2005.

Frontman of the band, Richard Archer, said "The significance of album covers is becoming little more than a centimetre square on an iPod screen. The sleeve used to add another dimension to an album, but that seems to be disappearing, which is really sad. We don't need some airbrushed band shot just because it might be expected. Fuck that. This is about the music."

The first single from the album will feature the words 'EXPENSIVE BLACK AND WHITE PHOTO OF BAND NOT AVAILABLE'.

'No Cover Art' on the front of the album is quite subversive. When I first spotted this in HMV, I wondered if it was a pre-release or something. But then you notice the stylish typeface and realise it can't be. Archer makes a good point; so many record sleeves are simply about a moody photo of the band, reclining in uncomfortable poses. It's nice to see something a bit different.

However, I do fear the decline of the record sleeve. For me, half the fun of buying a record is the packaging and design. The packaging helps reinforce the aural message that the record gives. Downloading music is not something I favour because the music usually just feels soulless without the accompanying artwork. Will the iPod be the death of the record sleeve? I hope not, but these days it seems it's only a minority of us that enjoy good design.

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