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The Sugarcubes

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The Sugarcubes
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Sykurmolarnir – or, as they became famous around the world, The Sugarcubes – officially formed on June 8, 1986, the same day co-vocalist Björk Gundsmunsdottir gave birth to her son, Sindri. Björk was already a veteran on the Icelandic music scene, having first made a children’s record at the age of 11 followed by a stint as singer in the post-punk combo, Tappi Tikarrass. By 1984, she had teamed with singer/trumpeter Einar Örn Benediktsson, drummer Siggi Baldursson, and keyboardist Einar Mellax as the ultra-noisy KUKL. In 1986, the avant-garde collective reconfigured itself as The Sugarcubes, adding Björk's then-husband Thor Eldon on guitar and Bragi Ólafsson on bass.
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The band’s swirling psychedelic sound was highlighted by whimsical lyricism, angular hooks, and the trademark vocal tug of war between Björk’s dulcet tones and Einar’s barking provocation. Released in the UK by the independent One Little Indian label, the band’s extraordinary debut, “Birthday,” became 1987’s most celebrated single, hitting the #1 spot on DJ John Peel’s influential year-end “Festive Fifty.” Elektra struck a deal with One Little Indian and The Sugarcubes released their debut album, Life’s Too Good, in 1988. Songs like “Motorcrash” and “Deus” were off-kilter, deliciously quirky, and unlike anything most Americans had ever heard before. With “Birthday” scoring significant college radio play, The Sugarcubes – especially the pixyish Björk – became instant alternative icons. Mellax left the band just as they were to begin recording their sophomore record and was replaced by Eldon’s new wife, Magga Örnólfsdóttir. Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week! arrived in 1989, highlighted by the smash Modern Rock track, “Regina.” 1992’s Stick Around For Joy would prove The Sugarcubes’ swan song, though it did yield a #1 Modern Rock hit in the appropriately titled, “Hit.” The Sugarcubes dissolved shortly thereafter, though the group members remain friendly and continue to be involved in the running of their Bad Taste, Ltd. label. In addition to Björk’s groundbreaking solo career, the other Sugarcubes are actively involved in the thriving Icelandic music scene, where they stand proud as true pioneers and revered elder statesman.


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