This feature has gone walkies for what I first thought was a few months and then when I checked was actually over a year. Now I’m not exactly sure what I was doing that made me put this feature on hold for so long but I assume it had something to do with Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and episodes of The Only Way is Essex, the best way to spend an evening in.
I’ve been crap but hopefully this great post will make up for all the belated posts. So the act I’m going to educate myself about today are Icelandic cult heroes, The Sugarcubes. Despite being a Bjork fan I have to admit I’ve never listened to The Sugarcubes, an embarrassing fact that I will correct today.
Now for a bit of background knowledge. Legend has it The Sugarcubes formed in 1986 on the day that Bjork gave birth to her first son which sounds pretty hardcore if you ask me. Focused around Bjork’s girlish vocals, and occasionally second vocalist Einar Orn’s spoken word raps, The Sugarcubes made quirky, sugar sweet indie-pop. They became popular in the UK after John Peel played their first single, the beautifully obscure, ‘Birthday’.
The best example of The Sugarcubes genius, ‘Birthday’ is a delightfully sweet way of looking at a relationship by having Bjork whisper into a microphone that “he knows how many freckles she’s got”. The song was taken from the band’s debut 1988 release Life’s Too Good. The chorus is simply Bjork showing off her vocal warblings but it works so well that you often find yourself trying to replicate them while you’re listening to it.
‘Deus’ was another single from their debut album. The song features the line “Deus does not exist but if he did…” which could either be interpreted as an atheist’s view of the world or an attempt to decipher the complexity of the universe. It features the band’s trademark jangly riffs and Bjork’s feminine growl.
‘Hit’, taken from the band’s third and final album Stick Around for Joy, was the band most popular song. “This wasn’t supposed to happen” Bjork wonders whilst soaking up the joyous love she has stumbled across. It would be faultless if it wasn’t for Einar Orn’s seemingly random rap. During the band’s lifespan critics were unsure of what to make of Einar’s vocals. Some claimed it was what made The Sugarcubes the free-spirited, chaotic band they were, others claimed his vocal contributions were erratic, discordant and overshadowed Bjork’s vocals.
The Sugarcubes disbanded in 1992 leaving Bjork to embark on, what would become, a hugely successful solo career shortly after. There are some real gems in their back catalogue and if you haven’t listened to them before I implore you to check them out starting with the tracks I mentioned here. I know you’ll be as entertained by the band’s charming tunes as I was.