311 – Mosaic

Posted: January 30, 2018 in Vinyl

311 is still going strong, releasing their 12th studio album in 2017; Mosaic. Mosaic continues on the track of the band’s two previous efforts in Universal Pulse and Stereolithic, but does take it up a notch in terms of quality. It has more of reggae vibe than the metal, alternative and hard rock touches found on their earliest albums. Not that Mosaic doesn’t have any of those elements on it, it’s just not as prevalent as say Grassroots, their self-titled album or even From Chaos. The only thing counting against Mosaic is that it’s just too long of an album. I found my interest starting to wane towards the end of the album both from the length of the songs themselves, and the monotony of them. Those two go hand in hand; because most of the songs are close to if not over four minutes in length. Songs started blending together after a while, and it became tougher to listen intently in order to critique the album.

Mosaic was pressed as a double LP housed in a gatefold jacket, and in an interesting move, the band released several variants for it. Not that 311 albums haven’t had variants in the past, but those that did were licensed out to other labels trying to cash in on the resurgence of vinyl. This album was released by major label BMG/Sony, so it’s even more surprising to see variants. In total there are three variants, with all of them being exclusive to somewhere.

There is a white variant that is exclusive to FYE, a translucent coke bottle clear variant that was exclusively sold on the band’s 2017 Summer tour, and a black variant that is the mass retail exclusive. So if you buy a copy from any retailer other than FYE, you will receive a copy on black vinyl. Each variant has its own unique hype sticker too, which helps you identify the variant. The white FYE exclusive has a white vertical rectangle hype sticker that says “FYE exclusive” and “white vinyl” on it. The FYE hype sticker is slightly larger than the hype stickers found on the rest of the variants, but it has the same basic design. You can even see that it was meant to have the same design and layout as the rest of the hype sticker, but an extra portion was added to the length/height of the sticker to accommodate the “FYE exclusive” text. The tour exclusive on coke bottle clear has a teal hype sticker that says “translucent coke bottle clear variant” and “limited edition” on it. It makes no mention of it being a tour exclusive, but don’t worry, it is. The black variant has a blue hype sticker that is similar in design to the hype sticker on the tour exclusive variant. But it does not mention color.

Pressing info has not been officially released for any of the variants. So don’t believe any numbers you see published anywhere. It’s all pure speculation or even worse, taking the word of an ebay flipper as gold. And if there is one person we all know is trust worthy, it’s someone who is trying to sell something they bought for $25 with the sole intention to resell it for over $100 the very next day.

All copies come with a huge, one sided fold out poster. But this poster is just the album artwork enlarged. What makes this poster a bit more understandable is that the band asked fans to send in photos of themselves in order to include the photos in the cover art. So this enlarged posters allows fans a slightly better chance to find their photo. A download card is also included. The lyrics are printed inside the gatefold. The center labels of each record are different colors; A/B is purple and C/D is light blue.

When Mosaic was first released retail price on it as on the high side; $25. The tour exclusive was $30 at shows. But like with most 311 releases, prices will eventually come down because it doesn’t sell well. I learned my lesson with this the hard way. It took several months, but prices have drastically fallen. You can buy Mosaic on black vinyl for $15 or even less as of posting this.  I bought my copy for $10 shipped, and that was after losing out on a copy by a mere 49 cents a week earlier. But I got the last laugh there because I was able to snag the next copy the ebay seller listed for $9.99 with free shipping. Because the white and coke bottle clear variants are “limited” they are still fetching more on the secondary market, but prices are not crazy, even for the tour variant which is now unavailable from a retail perspective. The highest a tour variant has sold for is $150, but that was after the first few dates of the tour. Prices have steadily declined ever since that initial sale on the secondary market; dropping all the way down to the original price of $30.


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