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Like countless other bored youngsters in late-’70s Britain, the four members of Edinburgh’s Josef K formed a band. But, influenced more by arty proto-punks like Television than by the Sex Pistols, they stood apart from their punk peers, self-consciously dressed up in ’60s mod suits and signed to Warholian impresario Alan Horne’s ultra-hip Postcard Records. Combining trebly, angular guitar work with energetic Britfunk bass lines, trenchant lyrics, and memorable melodies, Josef K produced a spellbinding sound. After two fervid years, during which the band made a string of dazzling singles and one classic album, Josef K broke up, making good on its members’ promise to part ways before things got boring. The band’s influence, however, has endured for nearly two decades, particularly among literate, sophisticated pop songsmiths. Posthumous releases of previously unheard recordings appear every few years and become instant collectors’ items. Nick Currie (aka Momus), once a worshipful fan, enlisted several ex-Josef K-sters to play in his first band. Members of Belle and Sebastian occasionally appear onstage in Josef K-esque suits. Drawing from the band’s entire career, Endless Soul presents Josef K to a new generation of angry young men and women. From its majestic opener, “The Missionary,” to the closing—and previously unreleased—”Adoration,” Endless Soul crackles with timeless excitement. Few others have managed to make disaffection sound so compelling.

—Leonard Roberge