Friday, November 07, 2008

FDF Volume 2 Issue 115: The Sugarcubes - Life's Too Good

By: March

Album - Life's Too Good
Artist - The Sugarcubes
Key Players - Guitars: Þór Eldon Jónsson. Vocals and Keyboards: Björk Guðmundsdóttir, Bass: Bragi Ólafsson. Drums: Sigtryggur Baldursson.
Vocals and Trumpet: Einar Örn Benediktsson.
Produced By - Ray Shulman and Derek.Dirkett

Release Date - April 1988.

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- I had this on tape and remember listening to it over and over on my long commutes in to Boston. I never got it on cd until I stumbled upon a used copy of the re-issue about a month ago. It had been a LONG time since this record was played.

Overview - This was the debut record from the Icelandic band The Sugarcubes. Considered one of the bands that put Icelandic music on the global map, the band would go on to release two additional records, a remix record and a best of collection all in under 20 years.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- The record opens up with "Traitor" that begins with a slow fade up and some harmonica. The band comes in about 25 seconds in and Einar speaks while Bjork comes over him vocally. It has a very cool deep bass groove to the track and the drums are hit really quite hard. The odd tempo that is "Motorcrash" follows. There is a nice jangle to the guitar but the tempo feels off a little, yet the band holds it all together. The drums are simple and Bjork does both the main vocal parts as well as the harmonies via over dubs. The up tempo track has splashes of horns and a musical break down before Bjork comes back as strong as ever. The first single to US Radio was "Birthday". It has some deep bass work once more and its a little confusing to the ears even today (imagine 20 years ago). Musically its very atmospheric in its feel leading up the chorus where Bjork really pushes herself vocally. The track really showcases her vocals and the drum work, with the bass run being a close second. Bringing up with guitar and a scream from Bjork "Delicious Demon" follows. Another up tempo track that Bjork sings some lines while Einar chants at points. Toss in some cowbell and we swing right in to the catchy chorus. "Mama" is a slower and darker feeling song, as is "Coldsweat" in which the latter focus on softer percussion work. It gets more up tempo with "Blue Eyed Pop" as what appears to sound like two guitars and long single bass notes before the song gets rolling. Einar takes more of the lead vocal duties on this track, at least at the outset. We mellow out again on "Deus" with clicky drums and an overall slower groove. Bjork goes solo on the first parts of "Sick for Toys" before the band comes down hard. Drums are really crisp as Einar returns backing vocally on the track. Almost feels odd to type this, but an alt country feeling "Fucking in Rhythm and Sorrow" follows. It has a 12 bar blues bass line and light chime to the guitars, it is not acoustic based it just feels sort of out of place, yet perfect with the record showing the bands diversity. The original record (reviewed here) wrapped up with "Take Some Petrol Darling" a mid tempo track that features a lot of "growling" for the vocal portions. It is sort of a throw away track honestly.

Where are they now? - The band went on and indefinite hiatus in 1992 when they decided to try other things. In November of 2006 they did perform live together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut single. Things went well, but the band has not committed to anything "collectively" since. Einar has worked as a promoter and has recorded under the moniker Ghostigital. Sigtryggur is currently a member of the band that carries his name. Bragi is currently working as a writer. According to Wikipedia he a novelist and playwrite and poet. In searching on Þór the only thing I was able to find was he appears to be working in a project called Punk Rock Iceland. Bjork is probably the most noticeable person with success outside the band. She has released a six solo records many which critics and fans adored. The continues to write and perform live, and is rumored to be in the studio at the time of this writing, but has said she plans to take her time.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- I did see the Sugarcubes live one time. They were the opening band for New Order and Public Image Limited. The show was Great Woods in Mansfield MA on July 10, 1989. I remember the Sugarcubes being overly animated on stage, doing what they could to get the early arrivals in to the show. Honestly, it worked. They were great.

FDF Overall Take - Like many records, the tracks I really like I still really like. Some of the other tracks are okay, but don't hold me for long. As a collective the band really brought some new ideas to "alternative rock". Casual fans would probably opt for the best of collection, and three tracks on this cd are on it.

Links -
Bjork official page. Check out Ghostdigital as well as Steintryggur on myspace. Finally check out Punk Rock Iceland.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

(**mp3s have been removed) they were:

Delicious Demon

All the tracks were taken from Life's Too Good which you can buy here

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bjerk, Natalie merchant and Morrissey can just drop off the flat-end of the world please.

At 12:51 PM, Blogger BierSnob said...

Great disc! Bjork in bettter times. Saw them at the Orpheum during a FNX New Music Poll Party.

At 4:59 PM, Anonymous leah said...

I remember that show! Great review.


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