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Josef K \ The Only Fun In Town [TWI 052]


Crépuscule presents a new remastered edition of The Only Fun In Town, the influential debut album by iconic Scottish guitar group Josef K, originally released on Postcard Records in July 1981. Crépuscule itself also issued two singles by the band at the time: Sorry For Laughing, and The Missionary.

Speedily recorded in a small studio in Brussels, The Only Fun In Town was a defiantly abrasive, serrated long-player in the mould of the second Velvets album, Josef K having already shelved a more conventional recording. Sharp-edged pop singles abound - It's Kinda Funny, Sorry For Laughing, Revelation - along with rattling Haig/Ross twin guitar classics such as Fun 'n' Frenzy, Heart of Song, Forever Drone and The Angle.

The Only Fun In Town topped the independent charts on release and remains a canonical post-punk album. This new 2014 remaster is available in two formats. The double vinyl album (TWI 052) arrives housed in a handsome gatefold sleeve (with an art print insert by JFO), and by way of bonus tracks also features several Postcard single A and B sides including Radio Drill Time and Chance Meeting. Side 4 features all four tracks from JoKay's celebrated John Peel Session in June 1981, including Heaven Sent and The Missionary.

The CD version (TWI 052 CD) is packaged in a handsome trifold digipack with 12 page booklet, and by way of a bonus also features all 12 tracks from Sorry For Laughing, Josef K's shelved debut album recorded at Castle Sound (Edinburgh) in November 1980, and apparently abandoned because it sounded too polished.

2xLP tracklist:

1. Fun 'n Frenzy
2. Revelation
3. Crazy to Exist
4. It's Kinda Funny
5. The Angle
6. Forever Drone
7. Heart of Song
8. 16 Years
9. Citizens
10. Sorry For Laughing
11. Radio Drill Time
12. Romance
13. Chance Meeting
14. Pictures
15. Final Request
16. The Missionary (Peel)
17. Heaven Sent (Peel)
18. Heart of Song (Peel)
19. Applebush (Peel)

CD tracklist:

1. Fun 'n Frenzy
2. Revelation
3. Crazy to Exist
4. It's Kinda Funny
5. The Angle
6. Forever Drone
7. Heart of Song
8. 16 Years
9. Citizens
10. Sorry For Laughing
11. Fun 'n Frenzy
12. Heads Watch
13. Drone
14. Sense of Guilt
15. Art of Things
16. Crazy to Exist
17. Citizens
18. Variations of Scene
19. Terry's Show Lies
20. No Glory
21. Endless Soul
22. Sorry For Laughing

Original artwork by Krysia Klasicki. TWI 052 is available on digipack CD and gatefold 2xLP. VINYL IS CURRENTLY OUT OF STOCK. To order CD please select correct shipping option and click on Add To Cart button below the cover image, or else contact LDDC by email.

A t-shirt is also available.

The Only Fun In Town [TWI 052]
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The Only Fun In Town [TWI 052]

Reviews:

"Josef K were The Sound of Young Scotland, together with Orange Juice, whose guitars were also radiant and brittle, whose rhythms were also scrubbed and blunt, whose vocals were also proud and serious, but who sounded like another group entirely" (Paul Morley)

"Josef K was about the heroic Outsider suavely surfing across the fraught surface of their albino funk fracas. Haig sounds high on anxiety, finding an odd, giddy euphoria in doubt" (Simon Reynolds)

"Rarely has there been a better album opener than Fun n' Frenzy, a shimmering yet abrasive mix of Subway Sect dustbin lid guitar, No Wave twitchiness, a hint of psychedelia and a crooning vocalist intoning poetic, abstract lyrics that conveyed existential menace. Continuing with Revelation, Crazy to Exist and single tracks like Sorry for Laughing, The Only Fun In Town was an extraordinary achievement - eclipsed by the group's split. It remains an early 80s high point. Those who haven't heard it should; those who have might be tempted by this latest upgrade, which features remastered sound and different extras. 4/5" (Jon Savage, Mojo, 06/2014)

"Grey of garb, clinging steadfastly to their Fontana Modern Masters paperbacks, talking up the aesthetics of alienation: Josef K were poster boys for a certain version of post-punk. They copped the angular guitar moves of Television, the anti-rock n' roll ethos of Subway Sect, and the dysmorphic poetics of the era. Coming from Europe-gazing Edinburgh rather than America-envious Glasgow, they offered a differant take on young manhood from their Postcard labelmates Orange Juice - more earnest than exhuberant, crepuscular rather than top of the morning. Listening in 2014, unexpected colours and leylines are apparent. Often the group's almost totally wired sound is redolent of Two-Tone outfits, while the likes of The Missionary have a chiming, barely containable grandeur. At their best Josef K sound both thrilled and thrilling, teeming with tomorrowness, glistening rather than glum" (The Wire, 05/2014)

"Josef K split impetuously in 1981 with all to play for. But their slender legacy still stands up, with literary, abrasive, pop-powered songs, including the Ian Curtis-inspired It's Kinda Funny and the outcast-assuaging Sorry For Laughing remaining potent meditations on the absurdity of existence, crooning frontman Paul Haig managing to be simultaneously unnerving and somehow cheering." (Q, 07/2014)

"The debut album by the iconic Scots post-punks gets a welcome remastering, 33 years on. For the uninitiated, the guitar attack of Paul Haig and Malcolm Ross has much in common with Magazine or Talking Heads, and has undoubtedly inspired the likes of Franz Ferdinand. The new version of the album also contains their aborted sessions for Sorry For Laughing, the album that had been intended as their first attack on the senses some eight months prior to Only Fun's release, but was scrapped for sounding too polished. Tracks such as It's Kinda Funny and Fun 'n' Frenzy still sound fresh and exciting today" (Scottish Daily Express, 05/2014)

"The Only Fun in Town, recorded in Brussels in April 1981, still sounds fresh due to the quality and immediacy of the songs. The rhythms are choppy, the guitars jagged and the production intentionally ragged with Haigs voice submerged, but Crazy to Exist and Heart of Song are kinetic pop nuggets with a nagging catchiness. The latter could be a David Byrne composition. Its Kinda Funny is a yearning classic in whatever form it was recorded (it was also a single). Despite the restrained delivery, The Angle could be reconfigured as a modern corporate indie anthem. Josef K were not shy of making grand melodic statements... The Only Fun in Town is such a benchmark little can match it. Josef K may have been neglected in favour of post-punk bands whose voices ring louder through time, but this reissue is a reminder that this vital and influential band was amongst the periods best" (The Arts Desk, 05/2014)

"There's an infectiously choppy, breathless groove to The Only Fun In Town, all hyperactive bass and wiry shards of guitar, while at times the original tracks from Sorry For Laughing resemble The Fall with the funk" (Classic Pop, 06/2014)

"Josef K were Postcard's cutting edge - spiky, insouciant, sardonic, existentially loaded and debonair. And throughout, their melodies remained pop at heart. Now post-punk punk-funk is the current alt rock flavour, the Edinburgh band sound more prescient still" (Mojo, 08/2004)

"For all their slightly delirious talk of fun, laughter and craziness, Josef K were among the most austere and monochromatic of post-punksters. Never mind - 20 years on, the furious, scrabbling textures of these songs are a savage pleasure in their own right" (Uncut, 04/2002)