Local Wire

Josef K

If the first thing that comes to mind when you read the word "Scotland" is haggis-gnawing, lager-swilling soccer hooligans, listening to the rapid-fire tracks on Entomology will make you think again. Dubbed "The Sound of Young Scotland," bands like Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, and Josef K ruled Britannia for a few years in the early '80s. These young Scots added a subtle pop sensibility to the sometimes rough-edged post-punk bands that emerged at the end of the previous decade. Josef K was the most cerebral band of the bunch, being more influenced by literature (e.g., Franz Kafka) than punk gods the Sex Pistols and The Clash. Nevertheless, Josef K's wiry, angular guitar lines demonstrate that the band took its cues from post-punk heroes like Manchester's Joy Division and Leeds' Gang of Four. In fact, one of Josef K's best songs, "It's Kind of Funny," is an ironic homage to the departed Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division who committed suicide in 1980. Entomology is a warmly welcomed compendium for stateside fans of the recent resurgence of interest in post-punk, given the fact that until now, there have been no Josef K albums in America. Josef K is an exciting band to investigate for those who've wished for a more melodic take on post-punk.
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David Mittleman