Al Stewart may have sung “Year of the Cat,” in the mid-seventies, but we think it really might have been in 2010. Last year, a slew of CD covers featured our feline friends, beautifully rendered. Two of the most felicitous fronts? The artwork that adorned recent records by The Klaxons and MGMT.
The Klaxons are certainly hot, due, mostly, to their 2010 album, “Surfing The Void.” What makes the cover zing? Man, it’s that crazy cat wearing an orange space suit. Looking like his space flight was no biggie.
Englishman Richard Robinson is the man who designed it.
“I’m friends with Jamie Reynolds from the band,” he said. “One night I was out with him and some other friends and the talk turned to the album cover. Whilst discussing possible ideas — the weirder the better — we found ourselves talking about the idea of a cat returning from space, pictured in the classic Buzz Aldrin pose. You know, with the expression that says, ‘Yes, I went to space, it was no big deal.’ It all flowed from there.”
Jamie Reynolds, singer for the band, is thrilled with both the cover and the cat, who just happens to be his.
“This is truly a special time for both Orphee and myself. Orphee thinks there’s no higher honor than to be mentioned on Cat Channel.”
Artist Anthony Ausgang is the man responsible for designing the cat cover for the band MGMT. It features a kitschy image of a cartoon cat as a wave eating a surfer. It also celebrates the feline influence invading current rock culture.
“I was friendly with the guy who produced the album,” said Ausgang, a highly-respected, L.A.-based painter. “Originally the cover was going to feature a lottery ticket. You’d scratch the ticket and it would show photos of the band.”
This proved to be too difficult and costly. So Ausgang, the band and the label (Sony) brainstormed. Then?
“It was divine inspiration,” said Ausgang. “I have several cats living with me here. One day I just looked at one and got the whole thing in my head. Bang!”
The label loved it and so did the band. But there was one contingent who voiced a contrary opinion: the group’s young female faction.
“It didn’t matter how great the cover looked. All the girls wanted was Andrew and Ben [MGMT’s leaders] with their shirts off,” Ausgang said, laughing. “But sometimes, when you get a vision, you have to stand your ground. Especially, when you love cats!”