U2 have unveiled the intimate cover image for their new LP, Songs of Innocence, which will be released in physical form on October 13th. The black-and-white photo, shot by Glen Luchford, shows drummer Larry Mullen Jr. shielding his 18-year-old son in a protective embrace. The band unveiled the image via their website on Friday morning, with frontman Bono explaining how the cover symbolizes the personal themes of the album.
"We've always been about community in U2, about family and friends," he says. "Songs Of Innocence is the most intimate album we've ever made. With this record, we were looking for the raw, naked and personal, to strip everything back. . . holding on to your own innocence is a lot harder than holding on to someone else's."
The visuals are also meant to reflect the band's formative years in Dublin. A statement accompanying the cover reveal draws parallels between the image and the covers for their 1979 debut, Boy, and 1983's War – both of which featured the face of child Peter Rowen, the younger brother of Bono's childhood friend Guggi.
Songs of Innocence will be available in three formats: a deluxe, two-CD edition (which features additional tracks, including a six-song acoustic session), a two-LP 180-gram white vinyl and a standard single CD. The album, their first in five years, was originally made available on September 9th as a surprise free download to all iTunes users.
"We wanted to make a very personal album," Bono told Rolling Stone in an exclusive interview the day before the iTunes reveal. "Let's try to figure out why we wanted to be in a band, the relationships around the band, our friendships, our lovers, our family. The whole album is first journeys — first journeys geographically, spiritually, sexually. And that's hard. But we went there."