Thursday, July 10, 2008
KUKL - "Holidays In Europe (The Naughty Nought)" LP
Ask the average joe, and a passing mention of Iceland conjures images of unspoiled nature, Arctic scenery, Sigur Ros (for the hipsters), and, of course, Bjork. Most are familiar with Bjork Gudmondsdottir's indie-pop band The Sugarcubes, who had some success on US shores in the 80's with college-radio hits like 'Birthday', 'Motorcrash', and 'Coldsweat'. It's lesser-known that Bjork had been active in punk and post-punk experimental bands since her pre-teens, even. KUKL was one of those groups.
KUKL immediately predated the 'Cubes, and featured fellow Sugarcube Einar Orn and a cast of Icelandic artists. 'Holidays In Europe', the group's second and final record, followed an ill-fated European tour (thus the title) where the band began their splintering. That the record was released originally on Brit-agit-political punk band Crass's personal label says something. Even fans of Bjork's present-day avante-pop inclinations will likely hate this record. It's packed with weird improv textures and darkly mystical moods, and schizophrenic shouts and wailings from both Orn and Bjork, whose voice is instantly recognizable. Her freeform yells and the scattered, sometimes-bombastic sounds here are more suitable for fans of noise or industrial music, or perhaps (really) free jazz. It's a weird mix, and actually pretty well enjoyable if given a half chance. (1986 Crass Records)