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Baker's Dozen

Primary Colours: Faris Badwan Of The Horrors' Favourite Albums
Suzie McCracken , May 6th, 2014 08:15

With their new album Luminous released yesterday, The Horrors' frontman picks out some of his favourite (and, in fact, least favourite) illustrated covers in an artistic Baker's

Photograph courtesy of Nic Shonfeld

It can sometimes feel like the only consistency in The Horrors' output is Faris Badwan's hair. But you'd be wrong - there's also his artwork. Throughout all the changes in image and influence in the last decade, Badwan has also been grooming his artistic prowess. His works have accompanied The Horrors', The Charlatans' and Hatcham Social's records. Three exhibitions of his work have taken place in the capital since 2008, showcasing illustrations which prove as diverse as his band's output. His drawings leap between multi-coloured metropolises, world maps in the style of surreal Japanese gardens, and faceless effigies rendered with only black horizontal stria.

Badwan's Baker's Dozen, therefore, takes a slightly different tact than usual. He's restricted himself to albums with illustrated covers - but not necessarily those with pieces of art he likes. As the band's fourth album Luminous is released this week, Badwan shines a light on his influences in a honest and paradoxical way - by hemming himself in with this particular clause, the results are a dolly mixture of albums he adores because of the art in synchronisation with the music, as well as those he loves in spite of a cover he despises. It also means albums that may not be the musician's favourites of a particular artist, but have illustrated covers, are included.

This is less of a concrete list of favourites than a conceptual grouping in order to prompt wider discussion, even if it's only within Badwan's own head. When we speak he reels opinions in from the ether and, despite his obvious proximity to the records, can sometimes find it difficult to vocalise what it is that draws him to an album. Perhaps that's why he values cover art - good or bad, it goes a way to communicating something so you don't have to. He asks: "How many times can you say 'this record's good' as a reason for liking it?"

"I've never been able to figure out what the line is, but there's a fine one between illustrated covers that can be really uncool and demystifying and ones that make it feel completely alien, l which is what you want. I really love painting and I always feel quite critical about putting my own work on record sleeves because I think, 'Oh that's not cool enough'. It's just such a hard thing to explain and quantify. The image has to be abstract enough, but not too cartoony."

Luminous by The Horrors is out now via XL. The band play the 100 Club in London this Saturday, May 10, before touring summer festivals, including Field Day on June 8; head to the band's website for full details. Click on his image below to begin scrolling through his choices