Label: One Little Indian
Side A - Birthday
Side B – Birthday (Icelandic) / Cat (Icelandic)
The Sugarcubes squared up from the dust of Icelandic anarchists Kukl although members had been involved in the Reykjavik punk scene for years and Bjork had been releasing music in various guises since her childhood.
Birthday was originally released in their native tongue as Ammæli along with Köttur (Cat) on the Einn Mol'á Mann (One Cube Per Head) single in 1986. It was also the first musical release by the group’s Smekkleysa (Bad Taste) collective.
Old friend Derek Birkett of Flux of Pink Indians liked it so much he asked for an English version to release on his One Little Indian label and both Icelandic tracks subsequently featured on the flip of this UK 12”.
There's been much speculation over the cryptic lyrics and the exact nature of the five year old girl's relationship with the man next door who 'sows a bird in her knickers'. Without doubt there's shades of Jo Imog's The Demon Flower and its sex horror tale of a ten year old libertine on a rampage through insect games to far more murderous passions.
The book originally surfaced in German as Die Wurliblume in 1967 and was published in an English translation five years later. Apparently David Tibet of Current 93 gave a copy to Bjork and I'd say the read heavily influenced the dark fairytale feel of a debut that's still pretty much unrivalled.
We'll soon be celebrating a famous birthday so here’s the 1988 Mary Chain Christmas Eve remix. If only they'd switched the hey, hey, hey, hey's to ho, ho, ho, ho's...
Birthday (Christmas Eve)
Merry Xmas Everybody