The new Manic Street Preachers album is being shipped to supermarkets in a plain slipcase because its artwork has been deemed inappropriate.
Concerns have been raised that the cover for Journal For Plague Lovers , a portrait by
artist Jenny Saville, looks like it is splattered with blood.
Singer James Dean Bradfield called the situation utterly bizarre. We just thought it was a beautiful painting. We were all in total agreement.
The frontman disagreed
that Saatchi favourite Saville had intended to depict a bloody face: If you're familiar with her work, there's a lot of ochres and browns and reds and browns and perhaps people are looking for us to be more provocative than we are being. We just saw a
much more modern version of Lucian Freud-esque brushstrokes. That's all we saw.
Four of the main supermarket chains - Sainsburys, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons - are among the shops using the slip cover.
Asda told 6 Music they wanted to
be extra cautious in case the artwork upset some of its customers.
Meanwhile Nicola Williamson, Sainsbury's music buyer, said: We felt that some customers might consider this particular album cover to be inappropriate if it were prominently
displayed on the shelf. As such, the album will be sold in a sleeve provided by the publisher.
The controversial sleeve to the Manic Street Preachers' latest album has come second in a best cover art poll.
Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury's all ordered the sleeve off their shelves in May amidst supposed concerns the image on Journal for Plague Lovers
showed a beaten-up girl with a blood-spattered face.
Cambridge-born artist Jenny Saville's painting actually depicts a child with a port-wine stain birthmark.
Now, in a national poll of 4,000 people, fans decided only Muse's The
Resistance had better artwork. The poll was conducted by sleeve framing company Art Vinyl.
Director Andrew Heeps said: It's interesting they (the supermarkets) put emphasis on shielding the image. I'm sure in many independent record stores
where it was on display it did not cause any controversy whatsoever.
Peter Black, AM and Wales Liberal Democrat health spokesman, condemned the supermarkets for their decision at the time: The award is well deserved because the cover is
excellent and also portrays a very important message that people with facial disfigurement are normal human beings who should not be treated as different. It shows that the supermarkets who opted to ban this cover from their shelves were wrong.