Happy Go Licky, Will Play

Joe Gross

By Joe Gross

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
God almighty, they ruled.

If Happy Go Licky had made a studio album during their meteoric run, it might have stood with Sister, Songs About Fucking and You're Living All Over Me as a defining 1987 post-punk joint. Instead, they played a handful of shows and left an enigmatic live 12-inch that eventually tripled in size for this 1997 reissue. The lineup was the same as Rites of Spring, but they scrapped the emo clichés they accidentally invented in favor of hip-hop-informed tape collages, dance rhythms and a random weirdness that made for a badass vibe these cats never quite topped. Grooves rise and fall, lyrics are fragments ("Get the dog/ Definitely," "She's my man now"), "Twist and Shout" anticipates everything Girls Against Boys did and Grandmaster Flash's "White Lines" gets a wonderfully messy cover. The wonderfully anthemic "Torso Butter" even contains one of punk's most concise manifestoes: "Nothing gets clean/ 'Til it's called into question." God almighty, they ruled.