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SPACEMEN 3: Sound Of Confusion (LP, Glass GLALP 018, 1986)

Spacemen 3 - Sound Of ConfusionAh, don’t they look so young on the cover of this album? Although having said that, Sonic Boom has aged surprisingly well, and doesn’t look too much older 25 years later than he does on the front of this record. In my opinion the photograph on the back cover of Sound Of Confusion should have been the front – it’s great, showing the band staring into the middle distance whilst swathed in multicoloured psychedelic projected light. Very cool.

I like the lettering style used on the cover – it’s a slightly refined version of a very typical style that was used all over a lot of psychedelic posters from the 1960s onwards. It’s a surprisingly straightforward style to recreate: consider that each letter is made of a single square block, and then consider removing oval shapes from within, to build up the negative space that creates the letterforms. For a while, once I’d cracked the trick to quickly and easily use this style, I used it a lot on gig posters and lettering that I was doing in the early 1990s, and even felt proficient enough to paint my own Spacemen 3 t-shirt, freehand, with the band name lettering as per this record cover, and the Spacemen 3 logo that would appear on later records. Somewhere, I think, I still have this t-shirt. For a brief period I got very into painting my own t-shirts, and produced them not with the Spacemen 3 logo, but also the Huggy Bear lettering from their first single, and the Love logo featured on their albums. The Love t-shirt was so well regarded that I was commissioned at least twice to paint similar t-shirts for others!

I bought this record second hand quite some time ago. Within the sleeve is the original insert that came with the release – allowing the owner to send off for a copy of the limited ‘Live’ 12″, containing recordings from a performance at Amsterdam’s Melkweg club in 1988. As the insert puts it, the Melkweg is ‘a well known drinking and hashish club’. Whoever previously owned the record had cut off and returned the form to claim this record; I wonder who it was? Did they enjoy the record? I own a copy of the ‘Live’ 12″, which I bought separately and second hand. Who knows, maybe the person who previously owned this Sound Of Confusion also previously owned the 12″ which is now in my collection?

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