It's a two-for-one this time, owing to the fact that I might be a bit late with the next installment. First up is Forever Changes by Love:
The content: a beautiful illustration by Bob Pepper (also known for some very fine Philip K. Dick book covers, among other things), presented with the simplicity it demands by designer William S. Harvey. The message: psychedelic mind meld = quality tunes. The picture: not special. I never said they'd all be brilliant.
Couple that with Sound Verite, from Love's spiritual descendants, The Make-Up:
The content: a pleasant homage to the original Pepper/Harvey collab, rendered this time in simple but virulent red and black. The message: we love Love, and you should too. The picture: see above.
The Love cover is one of the best of the psychedelic era for two reasons: the illustration itself is brilliant, and it's presented well. One would forgive the designer in this case if he had chosen to go over the top - that was the style of the time - but Harvey wisely opts instead to let it stand on its own, adding only a simple border and minimal typography. A lot of covers from this era fall short of greatness because they try too hard. The Forever Changes cover remains relevant because it tries just hard enough.
The Make-Up was one of the greatest bands of the nineties, hands down. That may not be widely known but it is nonetheless true. This particular cover is emblematic of their tendency to borrow from the past and put their own spin on it, a fact also reflected by the music it contains.
What we have here is one great band paying tribute to another, not just through music but also through graphics. It's been tried plenty of times (do we ever need to see another ripoff of the Abbey Road cover?), but seldom is it done in a way that's this pure and positive. Good stuff.