Judging albums by their cover

Fonda 500: The Autumn: Winter collection

Fonda 500’s ‘The Autumn: Winter Collection’ was really the inspiration for my ‘Judging albums by their cover’ articles. It has been a habit of mine for some time to discover new music by picking out albums that had covers that I liked, almost 90% of the time it turned out that I loved the music on the album as well. The Autumn: Winter Collection was discovered during one of my frequent rummages through the secondhand stacks at Bigstar Records. I have to admit, I’m a big fan of the ‘looks like a five year old drew the cover’ aesthetic – a style which is harder to pull off than you would probably imagine. I think I may have had in the back of my mind that this album was something that I had read a review for a couple of months earlier – originally thought the band’s name was ‘Autumn’ and the album was called ‘Winter Collection. It was only months later that I discovered ‘Fonda 500 tucked on the CD edge (what I had originally thought was the record label’s name!) I was really drawn to the simplicity of the graphics, basic black and white, handwritten text, naive imagery – it felt Autumn/Winterish, like a memory back to childhood when the seasons seemed all the more defined and more simply separated.

So how does the music relate to the cover graphics? The way I would describe the music is if a 1970’s primary school teacher, taking her classes music lesson, decides to lock her charges in the music room and tells them they have an hour to produce 12 compositions on the theme of Autumn & Winter with the instruments provided – and I mean that in a good way!

This probably falls under the genre of ‘Bedroom Pop’ usually a pejorative, Fonda 500 carry it off with a mischievous imagination. Beach Boy like harmonies, cartoon imagery, weird instruments, out-of-tune guitars, nursery rhyme like lyrics, songs about snowball fights, eating biscuits and duffel coats. The Autumn: Winter Collection validates the fact that minimal budget is no barrier to creating intriguing , lovable, melodic, confusing and frankly wonderful pop music – likewise when it comes to cover graphics.