Reykjavik punks Q4U picked up a Roland TR808 in the 80s and became cold wave innovators. The Dark Entries label, which released a retrospective collection of their releases, tells the story of the band and the compilation:
Q4U was born the winter of 1980-1981 in Reykjavík, inspired by the British punk movement. It’s original members were Elínborg Halldórsdóttir (Ellý) (vocals), Berglind Garðarsdóttir (Linda) (vocals), Steinþór Stefánsson (guitar), Gunnþór Sigurðsson (bass), Helgi (drums) and Már (synthesizer). Helgi and Már soon left the band and Helgi was replaced by Kormákur Geirharðsson (Kommi) on the drums. By early 1982 they self-released a full length cassette, “Skaf Í Dag” and appeared in the documentary “Rokk í Reykjavík,” which showcased the Icelandic punk scene. This version of the band ended and only two members continued on. In the summer of 1982 Ellý and Gunnþór recruited Óðinn Guðbrandsson (guitar) and Árni Daníel (synthesizer) from the band Taugadeildin. Their drummer was replaced by a Roland TR-808 drum machine they named “Elísabet II”. signaling a change in the group’s sound toward synthesizer-driven post punk. In August 1983 Q4U reinstated Kormákur to record a final set of demos and then called it quits.
This compilation collects 16 songs from 1980-1983. SIde A features the original six songs from the “Q1″ EP, plus 2 songs from the “Rokk í Reykjavík” soundtrack. Side B collects 4 demos from 1982 and 4 demos from 1983, all presented on vinyl for the first time ever. Q4U began with a stylish, aggressive punk image before experimenting with drum machines and synthesizers, which almost nobody did in Reykjavík at the time. The later sound had gothic leanings,often compared with Siouxsie and the Banshees and Xmal Deutschland. Their body of work is united by the powerful vocals of Ellý, who mostly sings in Icelandic about controversial, political experiences, much like Ari Up of The Slits.