It may not the fastest hardcore-punk band in the land, but Lickity Split has a valid claim on its name. Still, speediness isn't the most interesting aspect of this local quartet, and not just because the group convincingly downshifts to a reggae rhythm twice on its self-titled debut album.

The closest thing to a hardcore star on the album is guest guitarist Brian Baker, of Bad Religion and Minor Threat fame, who plays on half the tracks and co-produced the disc.

But the element that sets Lickity Split apart is singer Brien Stewart's lyrics, which extol the traditional harDCore virtues -- skepticism, self-reliance, loyalty, free-thinking -- with unusual eloquence. "Knowledge is power," Stewart announces in "Off the Hook," while "Chances Are" counsels listeners to "excel on the rebound."

Of course, it's always stirring to have a shout-along chorus like the one that makes "Glitch" the album's catchiest song. With Lickity Split, though, you can shout along without feeling dumb.

Appearing Wednesday at the Black Cat with T.S.O.L. and the Spoilers.

To hear a free Sound Bite from Lickity Split, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8107. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)