Just a few years ago, when it seemed that lo-fi space pop and folk-psych was unavoidable, I mused about the relatively unknown and unheralded Licorice Roots. Out of Delaware (of all places), they seemed to be doing everything that The Flaming Lips were getting credit for, albeit years earlier. But isn't it often the case with bands we think should be heard about?
So, where to start with Licorice Roots? You may be wondering just how obscure their totally obscure credibility is is on the underground market.
Licorice Roots worked with Kramer, a known and acclaimed producer for dozens of established indie artists, such as shoegaze legends Galaxie 500, King Missle, Will Oldham, why he even produced Urge Overkill's highly regarded cover of Neil Diamond's "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon" for the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. Credibility abounds!
Besides their early affiliation with defunct-but-influencial NY label Shimmy Disc, The Licorice Roots wound up with Essay Records over a decade ago, toured with Ween(when Ween was still starting out), was called "Hot" by Rolling Stone Magazine and were even called a cute band of the month by none other than Sassy Magazine! So how come you don't have 'Caves of the Sun' or 'Licorice Roots Orchestra' in your album collection, hmm?
Most likely, it's because of the reclusive and notoriously press-shy reputation of the band to begin with. Formed primarily by Edward Moyse in the early nineties as Raymond Listen, The Licorice Roots has always existed as a project and vehicle for Moyse's peculiar and often captivating muse. His auteur approach to the haunting, psychedelic pop and sub-sixties guitar wailing of the band's discography have often kept them blooming in one spot, awaiting casual discovery and critical re-evaulation. Press coverage on the Licorice Roots is sparse and took time to locate online. One brief piece had the interviewer suggesting to Moyse that he felt much of the Licorice Roots sound was similar and potentially influenced by another artist- only for Moyse to nonchalantly admit that he'd never heard of them.
The Licorice Roots is lovely, other-worldly, and certainly worth your time to pursue and explore. They paint haunting pictures flickering in and out over tangerine landscapes and deep green oceans. No cliche description will do justice to what you can hear for yourself- fortunately, a wealth of Licorice Roots material is available on YouTube and the band's entire output, I believe, can be found on iTunes. The Licorice Roots website is up but doesn't seem to be updated much; it can be found atlicoriceroots.net.
This is a band you should have AT LEAST heard of. Dangerous Minds.net compared them to Neutral Milk Hotel. The defunct but much-missed Melody Maker described their debut album as "a delicate work of weird genius; violent-tinted, sherbert-sweet, and lonely as Coney Island on a wet Sunday. Dip in."
We at Stanky Hamster could describe it in no better way. Dip in, indeed.