The Sugarcubes

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The Sugarcubes (Sykurmolarnir in Icelandic) were an Icelandic alternative rock band formed in 1986 and disbanded in 1992. They received critical and popular acclaim internationally.



The Sugarcubes formed on June 8, 1986, the day that vocalist Björk (born Björk Guðmundsdottir) gave birth to her son, Sindri Eldon; another member of the Sugarcubes, Þór Eldon, is his father. Before that day, the members of the group had been a variety of Icelandic bands. Björk had the longest career out of any of the members. When she was 11 years old, the vocalist had recorded a children's album. In her late teens, she joined the Icelandic post-punk band Tappi Tikarrass, who released two albums before splitting in 1983. Drummer Siggi Baldursson (born Sigtryggur Baldursson, October 2, 1962) was a member of þeyr (aka Theyr), whose most prominent international moment came in 1982, when they recorded with Youth and Jaz Coleman of Killing Joke. At the same time Theyr was popular within Iceland, Einar Örn Benediktsson and Bragi Olafsson formed a punk band called Purrkur Pillnikk, which released records on Einar Örns own label, Gramm. By 1984, Björk, Einar Örn, and Siggi had joined forces, forming KUKL with keyboardist Einar Melax. KUKL – which means witch in Icelandic – was a noisy, artsy post-punk band that released several singles on the independent British record label Crass. In 1986, KUKL evolved into the Sugarcubes, adding Björk's then-husband Þór Eldon on guitar and Bragi Olafsson on bass.[1]

They first came to notice in the UK when radio DJ John Peel played "Birthday", later voted by his listeners as a single of the year.[2] The band's music was characterized by a psychedelic post-punk sound sometimes reminiscent of The B-52's and Talking Heads, whimsical yet heartfelt lyrics, and the imploring, girlish voice of vocalist Björk, who later went on to great success as a solo artist. While not as successful as Björk's solo career would be, the band is still very highly regarded and was the most influential Icelandic group until the rise of Sigur Rós.

In late 1987, the band signed to One Little Indian in the UK, Elektra Records in the U.S. The Sugarcubes released their debut album, Life's Too Good, in 1988 to critical acclaim in both the U.K. and the U.S. "Birthday", the first single from the album, became an indie hit in Britain and a college radio hit in America. In particular, Björk received a heap of praise, which began tensions between her and Einar Örn. Coldsweat and Deus were also released as singles and made the lower reaches of the UK charts, while the US single Motorcrash went top ten in the Modern Rock charts.

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