CD ART REVIEW: Turbonegro – Retox

Turbonegro – Retox


Colour: Grayscale
Booklet: 12 pages, varnished
Typography: Egyptienne and hand written
Pictures: Grayscale photos and illustrations
Bonus material: Picture of a band and an ad
Designers: Matias Faldbakken & Gardar Eide Einardsson

This Norwegian sailing team has generally done some really admiring cd covers. For example their reunion album Scandinavian Leather was a great example of simple and visually pleasing solution. Firs part of the trilogy – Apocalypse Dudes – was also a piece of beautiful design and as a cream of the crap was the third part of the trilogy – Party Animals. It’s black and very corporative kind of design gives a radical message to today’s business world.

This time the cod fishers are doing things very differently. They are here with complete gray scale graphic experience in the name of Retox. Firstly, it gave me a little feeling of getting sick…

When you look at the graphics, pictures and the typographic design it seems they are designed in a real hurry without caring about the result at all. Maybe that is the case at some level but listening the album and reading the lyrics makes you to understand this concept much better.

Graphics as simple and “aboriginal” like this is actually a bold thing to do for a band who has just reached a status of mega band. It makes the previous album Party Animals to look like weird and extravagant with its corporative and very professional look. This time the band goes like ten years back to look and feel more original and honest. Retox is having the guts to look like themselves more than ever. At this point you need to compare the graphics to the music itself, which sounds more aggressive, pure and brutal than couple of previous albums. To that purpose, this graphical style fits just perfectly.

On the cover you can see a guy from behind staring at Hank von Helvete´s big eyes. I believe it could be a metaphor to the movie scene where King Kong is checking out the good looking blonde gal. Cover looks good but personally I’d like too see it with colours. On the other hand this cover sticks in your mind you will remember it when visiting the music store.

The booklet is very traditional consisting of the lyrics and picture material of the “retoxic” theme. Some of the pictures are hand illustrated and part of them are scanned from different sources – you can even spot Ronald Reagan from the pages. Some pictures are basic pictures of the band posing in different situations. I believe the most impressing picture is where band’s bass player Happy Tom is lightning a cigarette for the singer Hank von Helvete. Hank is looking at the camera with very suspicious look on his face while lifting his pants up. Picture is included to the page where are the lyrics for the song “Everybody loves a chubby dude”. It fits there like a fist in a bowl of jello.

On the other hand many pictures are blocking the lyrics and makes them really hard to read, which is a real shame. Readability should be a priority number 1 even though you are doing graphical expression like this.

All and all the whole package is a bit of a mess which opens up to the viewer much better after you’ve heard and understood all the songs. This is different but so is the band itself so I must say the designers have done a decent job.


+ Very brave thing to do
+ Graphics fits to the music perfectly
+ Some of the pictures are really awesome


– Typography is messy at some parts
– Concept is hard to understand
– Looks too cheap

School grade: 3/5


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