Best known as Postcard Records’ nearly-men, Josef K also released two singles on Belgian label Les Disques Du Crépuscule and recorded their sole album The Only Fun In Town at a studio in Brussels. Days after finishing, they played a show in April 1981 at a Brussels arts centre…

Josef K

Captured on The Scottish Affair (Part Two), the quartet tear into 10 songs in just half-an-hour. There’s no audience noise on the album, but you can imagine the crowd were left scared by the intensity of a band who seem unsure whether to scrap or screw.

Subtlety is out the window, future Orange Juice guitarist Malcolm Ross’ already taut playing made frenzied to keep up with Paul Haig’s histrionic vocals. Reaching a peak on the deranged Revelations and Chance Meeting, Haig abandons the debonair cool of Josef K’s studio work to get very sweaty and shrieky for the Belgians. You can still hear why the band were so influential, particularly on Franz Ferdinand, but the feeling persists throughout that they’re about to collapse at any moment. In the event, that’s pretty much what happens on the closing Final Request, as Ross’ guitar cuts loose in a squall of feedback.

Given their disparate talents and desires, it’s no wonder they only lasted for one album. Haig hasn’t played a full live show in years – here’s evidence of how good he was on stage.


John Earls