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The Cage Was Unlocked All Along

April 28, 2010


A nice young couple escapes from an island enclave of irradiated homicidal mutants and flies away in an airship improvised from a bathtub, a couple of tea kettles and a gramophone. This is, in a nutshell, the story behind the cover artwork for Zoey Van Goey’s full length debut ‘The Cage Was Unlocked All Along’.

The band built the concept out of lyrical excerpts from the album, the most fertile of which was from the song ‘We All Hid In Basements’:

“The Sun will cook the Earth until the ocean turns to steam
And fogs up all the periscopes on Navy submarines
And they will break like beached whales on shores across the world
And leaked their radiation so that all the boys and girls
Will grow with extra arms and legs and wage a war
Against the rest of us who walk on two legs until there are none anymore”

The grim story executed in bright storybook style reflects well the dark wit lurking beneath their sweet, easy sound. This “Where’s Waldo meets Hieronymus Bosch” style (Matt’s words) turned out to be a great match for their music (check out the video at the end of this article).

Matt, the drummer and principal ‘A.D.’ on the project, came up with this sketch to lay out the idea, which they’d cooked up together in the car on the way to a gig. I loved the sketch, it was the first time I’d had a client provide a concept so close to my own thinking that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it myself. It came after we’d had some trouble finding a good concept, but once it was on the table the floodgates were open.

I drew up a small army of sketches with ideas directly from the lyrics and from Matt’s sketch, as well as with ideas from my own imagination. With all the tiny details and lyrical tie-ins, this sleeve is the kind of visual accompaniment I always  relish in LPs and so often miss in CDs. There’s enough to look at here to last you listening through the whole record. It’s to the band’s credit that they put such an emphasis on having an engaging package for the record.

These are the three other panels of the booklet, the fourth being the above front cover.
above: The escape is discovered, the alarm sounded and the search begun.


above: The other couple (still stranded) and the carnivorous forest are from the cover of the ‘Sweethearts In Disguise’ 7″ single (the video for ‘Sweethearts In Disguise‘ is at the bottom of the page). In the middleground a mutant brings home captives, and the sub wreck is shown.


above: The search/ attack party of mutants and crazies is waylaid by voracious fungi from an adjacent island.

This project involved a great deal more sketching and concept development than a CD cover normally does. These are a few of the sketch sheets I sent the band:

Zoey Van Goey are currently working on demos for their second album, which they hope to record this summer. They’ll be playing shows in Glasgow and The Hague in May. You can buy the record in the Chemikal Underground Shop, and I highly recommend it.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 12, 2010 11:15 pm

    This is definitely one of my favourite of your pieces.

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