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THE STORY BEHIND THE SLEEVE

Vaughan Oliver and Simon Larbalestier tell Long Live Vinyl how they created the dark, surreal sleeve art to mirror the Pixies’ music

The Surfer Rosa and Come On Pilgrim sleeves were directed by 4AD artistin- residence Vaughan Oliver, who had discovered Simon Larbalestier’s photography after the pair had studied at the same college in Newcastle, before Larbalestier went on to the Royal College Of Art in London.

Oliver was searching for an image for the Come On Pilgrim sleeve when he came across Larbalestier’s now-infamous ‘hairy back’ shot in his studio. “As with all of the photographers that would come through the studio, somebody would strike me, but I would have to wait sometimes two or three years for a project to come up. Simon’s work wouldn’t have fitted the Cocteau Twins or Colourbox, but Pixies? Yes – bang on! So there it was, the answer to the problem on his wall – this man with a hairy back who was at once both natural but unnatural. There’s something slightly surreal there, something slightly dark and an element of dark humour.

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