Release Date: Nov 21, 2006
Record label: Domino
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Josef K's complete studio recordings can be had on two discs. Young and Stupid and The Only Fun in Town/Sorry for Laughing, both of which were reissued in 2002, tell the whole story, yet they were deleted by the time of Entomology's late 2006 release. The disc marks the first time anything Josef K-related has been released Stateside, and it passably packs the highlights.
You could never argue that Entomology is untimely. Five years ago it would have been hard to give a lavishly-packaged Josef K compilation away - they were a band remembered only by the staunchest of indie devotees. The Edinburgh quartet's career lasted barely 18 months between 1979 and 1981, when they were perhaps the apotheosis of a certain kind of band that came in punk's wake: clad in baggy suits, rigorously opposed to the conventions of rock, playing a kind of scratchy white funk, incapable of wearing their intelligence lightly, lyrically obsessed with "the absurdity of being alive in a godless, vacuous universe", as singer Paul Haig later put it.
The Sound Of Young Scotland: gaunt boys, unkempt hair, brittle guitars. Josef K were the square peg in the round hole: Orange Juice birthed and perfected indie pop by lifting moves from soul; Aztec Camera’s baleful, gorgeous pop songs glimmered with quietist late-teen angst; The Fire Engines came on abrasive, but deep in their heart was a spindly melodic core, even though this was only convincingly exposed on their “Candyskin” 7”. I remember, while obsessing over my brother’s Postcard singles collection when I was a mid-teen, trying to process Josef K’s place in the scheme of things.