A tale of two albums: Gerling’s When Young Terrorists Chase The Sun

In September 2001 when Australian band Gerling released their second album, When Young Terrorists Chase the Sun, they would have had no way of knowing that their album’s title would join that unhappy bunch of songs, albums and more that had to be tweaked somewhat by the censors as a result of the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

In Britain and Japan, amongst others, Gerling’s album became, simply, Headzcleaner, joining the ranks of The Strokes, Jimmy Eat World, Wilco, and loads more in the long list of altered titles as a result of the attacks.

I’m not going to dwell too much on the whys and wherefores of this name-change; it is what it is. But it’s a fantastic album and even after all these years I still find tiny details in this record that I hadn’t spotted before. I personally discovered Gerling in the mid-2000s, giving me a number of albums and EPs to delve into, each with its own vibe.

Here’s a track you can stick on while you read the rest of this post:

But it’s not just the layers and samples and snippets the band put to use all over this ambitious album, but the artwork, too. When I was first mining their back catalogue I stumbled across the fact that Headzcleaner and Terrorists were not different albums, despite having different titles and different front covers.

A quick glance at the almost-identical tracklisting confirmed they were basically the same album, but I still grabbed secondhand copies of both because by that point I’d become something of a Gerling collector. I seem to specialise in obsessing over niche bands with deep back catalogues. Gives me something to fill the shelves with.

I recently came back to these albums / this album, and wanted to try and unpick any other differences beyond the cover and the title. The tracklisting, as I say, is slightly different between the two: track 3, which on Terrorists is named High Jackers Manual becomes, on Headzcleaner, simply The Manual. Doubly unlucky for Gerling to put out an album in September 2001 with references not just to terrorists, but also to high jacking. Well played, lads.

I knew from listening to that song that the lyrics themselves contain a brief shout of ‘high jackers!’ and I wondered if the actual audio of the album had also been edited – but no.

(I gave the songs a brief listen before realising computers are much better at this than me. I used a program called DeltaWave to systematically compare the audio waveforms of the two songs and highlight any differences, but there were none.)

I suspect that where the budget for releasing this album extended to a hasty change of title and cover art, editing the audio would have been a step too far, and beyond what the powers-that-be would have required anyway. This was never going to be a chart-bothering record in the UK and elsewhere, so there wouldn’t have been much point in such an amount of work.

Anyway, I recently pored over the CDs’ inlay booklets for the first time in ages and noted more differences than I had remembered there being, and it is just interesting enough to me that I figure it might be worth posting on my blog about it, too. Plus, the artwork is just cool enough to take a quick look at anyway.

Herewith each element of the album’s artwork, compared side-by-side. I was surprised that the internal pages of the inlay booklets were different in both releases aside from one spread, and that the very verbose credits had, if not been re-typed, had certainly been re-set when being pasted in.

The credits for the artwork go to The Deli Brothers, and layout to Kelsey Simon of Festival Mushroom Records.

(In the following, Headzcleaner is at the top, and Terrorists at the bottom.)

So there you have it: the tale of the two versions of Gerling’s When Young Terrorists Chase The Sun, which became Headzcleaner in some territories. That’s what you come to this blog for, right? We don’t really think about album artwork any more, do we? Not beyond a tiny 600×600 JPEG anyway. So it’s nice to flip through a booklet as colourful and creative as the music on the album itself.

And remember:

 

Choose your fighter: young terrorists attack, or get up and get activated.


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