Josef K - Entomology

bleak, alienated but potentially still the soundtrack to a really great Saturday night

Album Review by Jasper Hamill | 12 Nov 2006
  • Entomology
Album title: Entomology
Artist: Josef K
Label: Domino
The shelves in the great pantheon of lost albums, filled with mislaid gems by Brian Wilson, The Velvet Underground or Johnny Cash, can't have been too weighed down by 'Sorry for Laughing', the first and unreleased album by Edinburgh post-punks Josef K. The band, who named themselves after the central character in Kafka's 'The Trial', were actually the only act to put out an album on legendary label Postcard. Yet despite this, their dogged, anti-careerist stance and wilful experimentation won them few friends at the time. Twenty-five years later, bands like Franz Ferdinand or Bricolage are copping their savage jangles, mesmeric dance-floor rhythms and strangled vocals, creating a whole new take on the sound dubbed 'The Sound of Scotland,' by Postcard owner Alan Horne.

This compilation, released by the extra-efficient Domino, takes a few rarities, takes from the original recording sessions and mixes them up with songs from some of the albums that actually saw the light of day. It's a thrilling glimpse of a band whose arty alienation and intellectualised disco perfectly represented an era when it was cool to be an existentialist, when the Cure were referencing Camus in Killing an Arab instead of singing songs about love at the weekend. One of the titles, Fun and Frenzy, perfectly encapsulates the Josef K sound: bleak, alienated but potentially still the soundtrack to a really great Saturday night. Scandalously, they ended up a footnote to the success of Franz and friends, rather than getting the attention they deserved. I expect that Kafka might have had some sympathy. [Jasper Hamill]
Entomology' is out on November 20. http://www.josefk.net/