Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Art of Punk: Everyone Is Happy Now

Permanent Record is the new guise of Kingston’s Dave House – you may also know him as a guitarist in Pacer. His debut album under the new name, or fourth album if you count his previous solo releases, is called Everyone Is Happy Now and is released next Friday on Banquet Records. I’ve had a sneaky listen of the album (review coming soon) and it’s great but what I really want to talk about right now is how wonderful the artwork is.

I didn’t realise until I clicked onto Dave’s ‘About’ page on his website that he is actually a designer as well as a musician, describing himself as ‘A designer by day and musician by night.’ So, it makes perfect sense why his album cover is so striking.

I’m not sure it’s something that perhaps everyone will pick up on but the layout design and typography of Everyone Is Happy Now is a nod towards classic Penguin book covers. It’s something that has been imitated a lot over the last few years, although usually with people turning films into book covers. This is the first time I’ve seen the classic Penguin layout be used for a record sleeve or indeed anything that’s not your average book dimensions.

It’s the subtle touches that Dave has put into the design that make it more than just a lazy imitation; using a little house logo where the Penguin would be, using ‘a Them Indoors original’ where the book would say ‘a Penguin original’ and using 33 1/3 RPM where the price (in shillings!) would have been on an original Penguin classic. Although the typography is clean and simple, note how only the first word of the album title is capitalised – like on many classic Penguin book covers – which is really quite unusual for an album title. As a graphic designer and type nerd myself, stuff like this makes me happy but I understand that doesn’t go for everyone!

Dave collaborated with the brilliant illustrator William Exley for the artwork on Everyone Is Happy Now. I’ve been aware of William Exley for a while and had him in mind for an Art of Punk feature as I love his illustrations on Banger’s Dude Trips – I own said record on vinyl and it’s really beautiful.

I love how his style is completely different to a lot of the visuals in punk rock – see my Skulls & Stuff post from earlier this year. Don’t get me wrong, I adore all the skulls and gore that are found in the world of punk rock but there’s something refreshing about William Exley’s illustrations and designs in comparison. You certainly don’t see a lot of the pastel colours that he uses in his designs elsewhere in punk music.

William Exley’s debut graphic novel, Golemchik, is available to buy through Nobrow – which if you’re a graphic designer or illustrator like me then you’ll know is a pretty big deal in the world of graphic novels.

And you can pre-order Everyone Is Happy Now on Bandcamp, either as a digital download or green / orange vinyl, or pick up a copy from Banquet Records. It’s unfortunate that I’ve chosen to write this post before the album is officially released as I’d like to take a look at the whole vinyl package! I don’t doubt that Dave has done an excellent job of the design as well as the music.