gullbuy music review

Josef K


Young and Stupid




Josef K'Young and Stupid' bills itself as 'the definitive Josef K collection featuring every single A and B side released between 1979 and 1982 on the Absolute, Postcard, and Crepuscule Labels, as well as the June 1981 BBC John Peel Session and compilation and demo tracks, remastered in 2001.' If you are a fan of Josef K, that is a good thing.

For those of you who never had the fortune, Josef K were a Edinburgh band who came to light along with other Postcard (an incredible label that put out great singles) artists Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, Go-Betweens. Josef K were part of the strong Edinburgh scene of the time along with three other bands I love; Fire Engines, The Scars, and TV21.

Like Orange Juice (and Felt and Echo and The Bunnymen for that matter) Josef K were very influenced by the NY band Television. The guitar sound of Richard Lloyd and Tom Verlaine got jacked up with an almost punk energy by Josef K guitarist Malcolm Ross, and Paul Haig's driving bass lines. Josef K were fronted by bassist/vocalist Paul Haig. His voice dates the band a bit (to my ears), but I used to think he was THE coolest when they were current, and I followed his solo career as well.

Putting on a Josef K single you were immediately struck by the trebly guitar pushed way up front in the mix, a sound that became the basis of the C86 bands on the Ron Johnson Sound label (such as Big Flame) after Josef K had ceased to exist. There are 21 songs on this disc, and none will bore. My favorites are still songs that have become Josef K staples ('The Angle', 'Its Kinda Funny', 'Sorry For Laughing', 'Chance Meeting', 'Heaven Sent'), but every song has some type of meaning or memory to me. I still recall what 'Chance Meeting' meant to me when it was only a Postcard 7inch and I listened to it over and over.

---Carl, March 26, 2002