The Good Ship Rediscovery: Josef K - Entomology

We all forget about the older stuff from time to time, in our quest to stay up to speed with the latest and greatest. But one should always respect their elders. So don’t forget about them, y’hear?

For those not up on their -ology, entomology is the study of insects. For those not up on their Scottish bands, Entomology is a collection of songs by the divine Josef K, contemporaries of Orange Juice and inspiration for Franz Ferdinand and countless others. Sadly, the lifespan of Josef K probably resembles that of a rare butterfly espied by a collector (or, dare I go there, an entomologist), as after releasing one record the band was no more. But on Entomology, some collected songs (from aborted releases and other sources) made their way to American ears, and it's a good thing they did.

If you've never heard of Josef K, friends, I'm here for you and I consider it my duty to fix that. Here's the thing. I love me some Josef K. In addition to, well, just being Scottish, their music was/is pretty great. Theirs was a sound that fits right in with what plenty of folks are trying to do today, a post-punk punk full of energy and malice and infectious rhythms.

I can't tell you how much I've listened to "Heads Watch" and marveled at its sinister bassline and manic, straightjacket riffs and vocal histrionics wrapped up in a catchy as hell package. It's a breathless two minutes, and when it's all over you might just need to catch your breath. "It's Kinda Funny" harbors a lackadaisical, can't even be bothered feel, dragging its heels in the most appealing of late Sunday afternoon ways.

"Sorry For Laughing" can't help but elicit a smirk, laden with jangling and jaunty jesting. "Chance Meeting" gets a groove in its lo-fi bonnet, off-beat rhythm and sharp guitars the hallmarks. There's more of the same in tracks like "Fun'n'Frenzy," a twitching shimmy shaker with a wee bit of a dark side to it. And the beaty bounce of "16 Years" sounds like a whole host of bands that shall remain nameless, but know exactly who they're aping.

All in all, Entomology is a must, especially if you have any interest whatsoever in the excellent Scottish scene of the late 70s and early 80s. Josef K's name might not get dropped as often as other members of the scene, but I'm sure you'll see why I love this record so.

mp3: Heads Watch (Josef K from Entomology)


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