The Sugarcubes

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The Sugarcubes
The Sugarcubes.jpg
The Sugarcubes in a promotional band photo
Background information
Origin Reykjavík, Iceland
Genres
Years active 1986–1992, 2006
Labels One Little Indian, Elektra
Associated acts KUKL, Björk, Purrkur Pillnikk, Þeyr
Past members Björk Guðmundsdóttir
Einar Örn Benediktsson
Sigtryggur Baldursson
Þór Eldon
Bragi Ólafsson
Margrét (Magga) Örnólfsdóttir
Einar Arnaldur Melax

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.

History[edit]

The members of The Sugarcubes had formerly been in a variety of Icelandic bands. Björk had the longest career out of any of the members—she had recorded an album as early as 11 years old, and in her late teens, she joined the Icelandic post-punk band Tappi Tikarrass, who released two albums before splitting in 1983. Drummer Siggi (Sigtryggur) Baldursson was a member of Þeyr, and Einar Örn Benediktsson and Bragi Ólafsson formed a punk band called Purrkur Pillnikk. By 1984, Björk, Einar Örn, and Siggi had formed the supergroup KUKL with keyboardist Einar Melax, and released 2 albums[1] on the independent British record label Crass Records.

The Sugarcubes formed on June 8, 1986, with vocalist Björk, Björk's then-husband Þór (Thor) Eldon on guitar, and Bragi Ólafsson on bass. (That same day Björk gave birth to her and Þór Eldon's son, Sindri Eldon).[2]

The band's music has been described as avant-pop,[3][4] and 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 Björk, accompanied by Einar Orn's erratic vocal performances.

In late 1987, the band signed to One Little Indian in the UK, Elektra Records in the US. The Sugarcubes released their debut album, Life's Too Good, in 1988, to critical acclaim in both the UK and the US. They first came to notice in the UK when radio DJ John Peel played "Birthday".[5]

Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week!, the band's second album, was released in 1989. The greater vocal contribution by Einar Örn on the record was criticized in many of the record's reviews, which were noticeably weaker than those for Life's Too Good. The singles "Regina" and "Planet" topped the UK indie charts but fared poorly in the mainstream charts outside of Iceland. After the release of Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week!, the band embarked on a lengthy international tour.

At the conclusion of the tour in late 1990, the bandmembers pursued their own individual interests. Stick Around for Joy, the band's third album, was released in February 1992. Stick Around for Joy received better reviews than Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week!, and spawned the band's first big hit single, the aptly titled "Hit". Further singles "Walkabout" and "Vitamin" failed to make any chart impact however. The Sugarcubes disbanded in late December 1992. A collection of remixes entitled It's It was released in October 1992 along with a re-release of "Birthday" which was backed by numerous remixes of the song. The band remain friends to this day and are all still involved in the management of record label Smekkleysa (Bad Taste Ltd).

On November 17, 2006, the band had a one-off reunion concert at Laugardalshöll sport arena in Reykjavík, Iceland, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut single with all profits going to the non-profit Smekkleysa SM to promote Icelandic music.[6]

Line up[edit]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
AUS
[7]
GER
[8]
NLD
[9]
SWE
[10]
UK
[11]
US
[12]
Life's Too Good 64 48 14 54
Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week!
  • Released: September 1989
  • Label: One Little Indian
  • Formats: CD, LP, cassette
15 70
Stick Around for Joy
  • Released: 18 February 1992
  • Label: One Little Indian
  • Formats: CD, LP, cassette
74 58 71 29 16 95
"—" denotes items which were not released in that country or failed to chart.

Compilations and remixes[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
UK
[11]
It's-It
  • Release date: 27 October 1992
  • Label: One Little Indian
  • Formats: CD, LP, cassette
47
The Great Crossover Potential
  • Released: 14 July 1998
  • Label: One Little Indian
  • Formats: CD, LP, cassette
161
"—" denotes items which were not released in that country or failed to chart.

Singles[edit]

Year Song Chart positions Album
AUS
[7]
IRE
[13]
NZ
[14]
SWE
[10]
UK
[11]
UK Indie
[15]
US Mod Rock
[16]
US Dance
[17]
1986 "Einn Mol'á Mann" (ICE only) (as Sykurmolarnir) singles only
1987 "Luftguitar" (ICE only) (as Johnny Triumph & Sykurmolarnir)
"Birthday" 65 2 Life's Too Good
1988 "Coldsweat" 56 1
"Deus" 51 2
"Birthday" (Reissue) 41 65 1
"Motorcrash" (Continental Europe/US only) 10
1989 "Regina" 27 55 1 2 Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week!
"Planet" 97
1992 "Hit" 76 18 28 17 1 Stick Around for Joy
"Walkabout" 16
"Vitamin"
"Leash Called Love" 1
"Birthday Remix" 64 It's It
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.

Vinyl and CD boxes[edit]

Collaborations and featuring[edit]

Other releases[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Kukl Discography at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  2. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "The Sugarcubes | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  3. ^ AllMusic
  4. ^ Vibe
  5. ^ bbc.co.uk (2008). "Festive 50s". Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  6. ^ bjork.com (2006). "The Sugarcubes bounce back into concert!". Retrieved 2006-10-02. 
  7. ^ a b Australian (ARIA Chart) peaks:
  8. ^ "THE SUGARCUBES - LIFE'S TOO GOOD (ALBUM) - australian-charts.com". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2016-05-29. 
  9. ^ "dutchcharts.nl > The Sugarcubes in Dutch Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2016-05-29. 
  10. ^ a b "swedishcharts.com > The Sugarcubes in Swedish Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2016-04-16. 
  11. ^ a b c UK chart peaks:
  12. ^ "Billboard > Artists / The Sugarcubes > Chart History > Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-04-16. 
  13. ^ "The Irish Charts – All there is to know > Search results for 'Sugarcubes' (from irishcharts.ie)". Fireball Media. Retrieved 2016-04-16. 
  14. ^ "charts.org.nz > The Sugarcubes in New Zealand Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2016-04-16. 
  15. ^ "Indie Hits "S"". Cherry Red Records. Archived from the original on 2009-07-20. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  16. ^ "The Sugarcubes - US Alternative Songs". billboard.com. Retrieved 2016-02-05. 
  17. ^ "The Sugarcubes - US Dance Club Songs". billboard.com. Retrieved 2016-02-05. 

External links[edit]