Josef K Sorry for Laughing / Revelation 7″ reissue

In tandem their Glaswegian contemporaries ORANGE JUICE, Edinburgh’s JOSEF K stitched together scratchy funk and nervous, angular jangle to help shape of the Sound of Young Scotland in the early ’80s, leaving behind a breadcrumb trail for the danceable and debonair likes of FRANZ FERDINAND, the STROKES, et al. to pick up at the turn of the century (don’t hold that against them). This 1981 pairing was one in a string of great, spiky singles from JOSEF K’s brief reign—both songs resurfaced just a few months later on the band’s sole LP The Only Fun in Town (which got its own reissue back in 2020), but the 45 was always the true post-punk people’s format, and Optic Nerve’s reissue campaign of crucial ’80s DIY short-takes can only be viewed as a labor of love in the 7”-hostile hellscape of 2022. On the A-side “Sorry for Laughing,” taut, disco-fixated rhythms (check that hopscotch bass line!) are blurred at the edges by a flurry of restless post-FEELIES/pre-WEDDING PRESENT guitar strumming as Paul Haig’s deadpan croon seals the deal with suave sophistication, while B-side “Revelation” strikes anxious art-punk poses like a more JOY DIVISION-damaged FIRE ENGINES, all wiry, treble-heavy guitar slash and bob-and-weave bass to give GANG OF FOUR a run for their money. Absolute class.