According to group legend, the Sugarcubes formed on June 8, 1986, the day that vocalist Björk gave birth to her son. Prior to that day, the members of the group had been in a variety of Icelandic bands. Björk had the longest career out of any of the members. By 1984, Björk, Einar Örn Benediktsson and Siggi Baldursson had joined forces, forming Kukl with keyboardist Einar Melax. KUKL — which means witchcraft in Icelandic — was a noisy, artsy, post-punk band that released two albums on the independent British record label Crass. In 1986, KUKL evolved into the Sugarcubes, adding Björk's then-husband Thor Eldon on guitar and Bragi Ólafsson on bass.
In late 1987, the band signed to One Little Indian in the U.K., 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.
Here Today, Tomorrow, Next Week!, the Sugarcubes' second album, was released in 1989. The album featured a greater vocal contribution by Einar, which was criticized in many of the record's reviews, which were noticably weaker than those for Life's Too Good. 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 band members pursued their own individual interests.
Stick Around for Joy, the band's third album, was released in 1992. Before the record appeared, a collection of remixes called It's It was released in Europe. Stick Around for Joy received better reviews than Life's Too Good, but the album failed to yield a hit single. Following its release, the Sugarcubes disbanded. In 1993, Björk launched a critically acclaimed and commercially successful solo career that was based in dance music.