The Lickets
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The Lickets

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Folk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Arrows/Desert Fire Review"

Issued concurrently, The Lickets' Her Name Came on Arrows and They Turned our Desert into Fire make the strongest case imagineable for the San Francisco trio's enchanting brand of psychedelic folk music. As they did on their previous outing Journey in Caldecott, shamans Lena Buell, Mitch Greer and Rachel Smith deploy a mini-orchestra of acoustic instruments—cello, flute, acoustic guitar, organ, sitar, harmonium, hand percussion, et al.—to call into being undulating vistas of luminous mantras and soundscapes. The Lickets' raga-like settings suggest a strong Indian influence, and traces of visionary ‘60s jazz artists like John and Alice Coltrane, the time-transcending drones of La Monte Young and his Theatre of Eternal Music, and ‘60s psychedelic rock surface too as parts of the trio's heady mix.

“Arrow of Expanding Light” initiates Her Name Came On Arrows with a hallucinogenic swirl of cello, dulcimer, acoustic string instruments, and percussion that feels like a peyote-fueled incantation—an apt beginning to the consciousness-expanding journey that follows. A cello navigates an ecstatic path through the baroque drone landscapes of “Circles In Parallel,” while “Constellation Umbrella” dives into a dream-pool of banjo, strings, and keyboards. The first disc also includes “In the Garden of the London Underground,” a gentle, vocal-based madrigal cloaked in a fog of reverb; “They Turned Our Desert Into Fire,” a waltz of melancholy mood and stately design; and “The Seven Pomegranate Seeds,” which caps the album with a lamentation for cello and acoustic guitar.

They Turned Our Desert Into Fire differs from the other album in length (seventy-four minutes compared to the first's fifty) and in at times being slightly more ponderous and restrained, as demonstrated by “Butterfly Beach,” a meditative setting of seaside drift, and the seductively-brooding medieval folk setting “Clairvoyant Perception of the Unseen Unicorn.” Like a bucolic and peaceful trek through the countryside, “Ilyushin Il-76” is downright jaunty, while “Second Sight Procession,” untethered from any earthly mooring, glides like a shuttle through the upper spheres for a trippy thirteen minutes. Creaks and flutterings resound against a backdrop of acoustic strums and finger-picking in “Festival on the River of the Frozen Moon,” a beautiful, funereal dirge for cello and flute. Mention must be made, too, of “The Heron & the Hummingbird,” whose elegant, serpentine weave of cello and acoustic guitars casts an irresistibly hypnotic spell. The second disc also boasts one of the trio's most ear-catching pieces and undoubtedly its most epic to date: the twenty-one minute “Endless Migration.” Against a shimmering sea of sitar tones and string washes, flute and cello melodies intertwine in an ecstatic daze, suspending time in the process. When the piece moves into its second half, it burrows even deeper into its oceanic mass, becoming ever more awe-inspiring as it does so.

Transcendental and transporting, the material collected on these companion releases achieves a seldom-heard reconciliation between improv-inspired exploration and structural coherence that's difficult to achieve, even if The Lickets makes doing so appear rather effortless. With the material coming at the listener in wave upon remarkable wave, the discs provide an incredible two-hour listening experience, and the releases constitute a major accomplishment on the band's part. - Textura

"Journey In Caldecott Review"

Recorded in Chicago during 2006-07, Lickets' Journey In Caldecott collects fifteen hallucinatory forays into multiple genres, with haunted psych-folk the most prominent. Mitch Greer and Rachel Smith deploy a mini-orchestra violin, cello, guitar, double bass, flute, Farfisa, mellotron, vibraphone, Theremin, Mini-moog, chimes, xylophone, and percussion to create their thoroughly trippy travelogue. Often it's a challenge to identify the instruments within a given piece when they're so wholly subsumed within Lickets' densely layered mix; some instruments manage to stay at the surface, while others blend into the overall hazy fabric. The material sometimes calls to mind the image of a mushroom-addled escapee from the 60s (e.g., the hazy drone Pollen with its Doors-like organ warble, and Eye of Horus Computer Repair Shop, where sitars blaze over its swirling masses); leaving nothing to chance, the mere title of Smoking Hippie gives the game away.

The mix of vibes and lazy head-nod in Children's Magical Death could pass for crate-diggin' instrumental hip-hop but generally Lickets opts for hypnotic, aggressively thrusting streams of acoustic guitars, whispered vocals, vibes, and cellos. Standouts include Crowd of Pimps in the Rain, a meandering, sleepy flow of willowy acoustic sounds, Tears Into Leaves, a vertiginous psych-folk drone filled with haunted voices and swirling harp strums, and Costa del Concrete, whose harmonium-like wheeze is generated by a mix of organ smears, string sawing, and xylophone percussion. Melodically, one of the most distinguished pieces is It's All at the Co-op Now whose wistful melodies elevate it above the rest. The perfect gift for both your resident 60s survivor and fellow psych-folk fanatic. - Textura

"Fake Universe Man Review"

From the Max Ernst-style Merz of the cover of Fake Universe Man to the International Corporation's zoned out PR sheet, which comes under the guise of a big business communiquecomplete with analysis detailing the temporal point-origin of each vertical stratum of the CD in relation to its position along the recording's timeline, it's evident The Lickets are not some tepidly traditional collective. The ten tracks of Fake Universe Man smudge and bleed into one another. In the opener, Big Happy Bubble, the listener enters an impossibly dense forest, ponds choked by gigantic fronds, the sky blotted out and peopled by a thousand different varieties of bird and frog. Reconstruction Research is reminiscent of Hal Blaine's paisley shirted grooves and the longform tickertape rhythms on Faust's So Far; doppler-donkey horns trot past. The vintage arcade bleeps of 123 Infinity segue into the clangorous cembula of Main Character Package Machine,sourced from Tibetan ritual recordings. Further on we encounter the binary loop stomp of Magnificent New Terminal Building and the glinting, arcadian charm of Shopping in the Future. It's a shame that Cat Runs a Company, the album's 20 minute long centerpiece, slightly disappoints, veering into a more classical take on the Italian soundtrack, recycling the stock phrases of Sciascia and Morricone rather glibly. The collision of this hand drum aesthetic within the context of hard disk editing is symptomatic of deepening affinities between electronica and the vagabond orphan of folk music. Perhaps audible first in the music of Matmos, it's an improbable detente that has been forged in consequence of the agonisingly slow death of dance music. Where once the cutting edge of electronica sought to dally with the unselfconsciously avant garde mutations of the post-rave fracas, in their absence it's now committing necrophilia with John Barleycorn. - The Wire

"The Lickets"

These guys already have some albums out, but I will say that the first time I heard of them was online via their mySpace page, Truly something magical. Check out "Jero" if you will. It's bizarre classical music that's repetitious and hypnotic in the way that Phillip Glass can sometimes be. It's also occasionally elevating. It feels like music made by magical Lord of the Rings elves and it's worth listening to. Among other things, it's deeply enchanting. - H Magazine

"Fake Universe Man Review"

Sounding almost like a naturally flowing folk band plucking away at perfected instruments driven by nature?s desires and passions, The Lickets deliver a desirably tripped-out record of high standards.

With added electronica beats and structures, Fake Universe Man feels as though it should belong to an epic sci-fi/western movie in places but in other places it could be part of a carnival but experienced through DMT?

Think following the Pied Piper in 2022 across all lands and gradually building up a band of all sounds with an aim to drive out the mechanical rats.

The LP sways in and out of beauty and misunderstood underdogs yet effortlessly showering sounds of beauty over the scape before itself.

Conjuring images of conventional scopes of natural sound and many layers softly peeled away, showing shimmering effects.

Both relaxing and constantly intriguing, this record is perfect for summer days sitting among the trees watching the haze of the evening drift to dark dancing nights. - The Fly


1. Fake Universe Man - #19 KDVS UC Davis, #25 CKUT Montreal, #54 KZSU Stanford

2. Journey In Caldecott - #19 WMBR Boston, #30 WXDU Duke, #18 KVRX, Austin, Garden of Earthly Delights, September 07

3 & 4. Her Name Came on Arrows/ They Turned Our Desert Into Fire - 2009 #3 WMBR #27 WNYU



The Lickets are a duo that becomes a transcendental mini orchestra.