It's an oblique take on the 'Sgt. Pepper's...' format...

Whyte Horses is a reclusive yet magnetic project.

The group - a loose-knit vortex of refreshing musicians - are led by Dom Thomas, a potent songwriter who doubles as the founder of niche vinyl reissue label Finders Keepers.

A renowned crate-digger and DJ with an encyclopaedic knowledge of pop culture, Dom brings these appetites to the fore on Whyte Horses.

The band's slim but potent catalogue is set to earn another chapter shortly, with new album 'Hard Times' landing on January 17th.

The cover is a neat Beatles parody, utilising the 'Sgt. Pepper's...' design but giving it a fresh 2k20 spin.

Out shortly, Clash asked Dom Thomas to chat a little about the cover, his intentions, and it's design...

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'Hard Times' is a covers album so taking elements of my favourite sleeves and putting them into a collage was the obvious thing to do. Normally I’d veer away from something so garish and homage driven but the recordings coupled with the times we’re in suggested the sleeve should wear it’s heart on its sleeve shamelessly.

I’ve always loved the cheekiness of bad-looking bootlegs as opposed to the real thing. I’ve come across plenty of sleeves from around the world that have ripped famous covers with a certain grace, the Mothers Of Invention / Beatles parody being a famous example of a well-concocted idea taking no prisoners.

'Hard Times' is effectively my perfect fantasy mixtape so the cover had to save as the perfect accompaniment to it. A fantasy studio shot where the skyline would be torn out in the middle with what I consider my utopia, the desert.

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The sleeve was designed by Julian House who was the only person who could bring this vision to life, he shares a similar outlook on music and design we’re on the same page in many ways. We decided that we’d setup a shot similar to the 'Tropicalia' album cover, almost like a football team photo with a nod to Sergeant Pepper by adding cutouts of the guests. The cover touches on Archigram, Bollywood, the Sid and Marty Krofft programs particularly H. R. Pufnstuf and Banana Splits. 

From being young I’ve always found specific colour combinations serve as endorphins for my brain, I’m hooked on trying to get back those primal experiences of first sensations you experience in childhood.

The album cover is usually the last piece of the jigsaw in the process of making a record, it’s something that lives with it forever, it can make or break an album. It can also elevate a collection of songs that might not be deserving into Classic Album territory.

Hopefully the album will continue to serve as an art form, if we continue to just think about releasing music faster it just feeds into the growing disposability of music.

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'Hard Times' will be released on January 17th.

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