United Nations is the side project of Geoff Rickley of Thursday and Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw. This band seems to love controversy and generated a ton if it with the album artwork for this album. Originally, the artwork was slated to be a blatant rip off of the Beatles album Abbey Road. In fact, it was the Abbey Road artwork, but it had Paul, George, John and Ringo in flames and walking backwards (to the left instead of to the right) compared to the actual Abbey Road artwork. A huge uproar began as a result, stores refused to carry the album legal actions were threatened and ultimately the band was forced to change the artwork. Only 1,000 copies of the CD version with the Abbey Road artwork were sold, and only sold through Eyeball Records and the band’s webstore. All copies of the vinyl version have the controversial Abbey Road artwork on the insert/liner notes
A second controversy and legal battles over more artwork issues resulted when the band used Bugs Bunny, a Looney Tunes character, apparently without full permission. To my knowledge the Bug Bunny image was never used on either version of the CD. The Bugs Bunny image in question was used on the vinyl version, as it’s the image on the center labels of the record.
Lastly, an even bigger and longer controversy was the band’s name itself. The actual United Nations, you know, the diplomatic body with headquarters in New York City took exception to the band using the name and claimed infringement. I believe a lawsuit was brought against the band and I do not know the end result of.
Now back to the record itself. It was pressed on red vinyl limited to 1,000 copies. I’ve included pics of the Abbey Road insert and you can see the Bugs Bunny label, which is the a-side in the pic below The b-side also has Bugs Bunny, but with his eyes X’d out.
After rumors persisted for months if not years, a re-pressing of United Nations debut, self-titled album was finally confirmed in mid 2015. The second pressing is released by a new label(s). Instead of Eyeball Records, which is now defunct, Temporary Residence released this new pressing. Collect Records also had a hand in this latest release of the album as well. There are some major differences between the first press and second press, mainly aesthetic.
The second pressing reverts back to the original banned cover, which is a clear knock off of the Beatles White Album. All the visual pieces of this pressing, the cover art, gatefold art, center labels and insert infringe on something Beatles related. The center labels are clear imitations of the Apple Records logo and center labels. The insert has images from Abbey Road and the gatefold artwork speaks for itself.
As aforementioned, the second pressing comes housed in a gatefold jacket, which the first pressing did not. This gatefold jacket is very nice. It’s one of if not the thickest in my collection. The cover has the band’s name embossed, just like the White Album. Every copy is individually numbered, which is done on the cover along the bottom right edge, just below the embossing. The numbering seems to be done randomly and is not based on color variant.
There are two variants for the second pressing; with only one being limited. White is the limited variant, with 1,085 copies. There is also a black variant as well, which won’t be limited. While white copies were only available online through either Temporary Residence or Collect Records (this late issue of the album was a joint release, with Temporary Residence handling the vinyl version and Collect handling the CD version), the black is available everywhere. Collect Records only had a handful of copies of the white vinyl to sell, with Temporary Residence getting the bulk of the 1,085 copies.
One interesting thing about the variants is that the center labels for each variant are different from one another and exclusive to the respective variant. While the design is the same between them, the color scheme changes. The white vinyl has a white background with a grey apple and the black vinyl has a black background with a grey apple.
The insert is a double-sided foldout. Abbey Road inspired art is on one side, with lyrics printed on the reverse side. A download code is included with all copies. At the end of the record is a hidden bonus track of sorts in the form of a locked groove that has the sound of a cash register.