Ricked Wicky Swimmer To A Liquid Armchair on LP + Download
New Project from Guided By Voices' Robert Pollard!
Dayton, Ohio-based supergroup Ricked Wicky pulls off a rarely ventured and even more rarely gained three-peat with its third album – all recorded and released in the span of a year – Swimmer to a Liquid Armchair. The quartet, led by Robert Pollard and seconded mostly by multi-instrumentalist Nick Mitchell, with assists from Kevin March on drums and Todd Tobias on bass, have amped Pollard's already wildly prolific output to Jason-Statham-in-Crank-2 levels. Swimmer serves up the same gleefully messy prog / punk / pop stew as on the previous two Ricked Wicky releases, but there's a growing sense of assurance evident on the newest record that indicates big things for the future.
We draw your attention in particular to "Poor Substitute," as straightforward a song as Pollard has ever written, emotionally charged, melancholy, executed with rough vigor by the band and sung with unaffected mastery. Contrast this with the following song, which showcases Mitchell's more polished songwriting approach (and abundant guitar chops) and his vibrant, albeit less elastic, tenor voice.
If Guided By Voices, Pollard's other other band, often bear comparison to the Beatles, Ricked Wicky on occasion calls to mind a kind of lo-fi Blue Öyster Cult, with a touch of early Queen (Mitchell's slide work on "The Blind Side" recalls Brian May). Those accustomed to more standard Pollardian fare will find plenty to chew on here: the virtuosic wordplay on album opener "What Are All Those Paint Men Digging," the thumping thug-rock of "Red-Legged Pygmalion," the epic sweep (in three minutes) of "Simple Simon Paper Plates," for starters.
But if Pollard seems determined to establish Ricked Wicky as more than just another in a numberless series of side projects – as an actual thing-in-itself as fully realized as anything he's ever dreamed up in his rock-crystal bowl – he's nonetheless never more himself than when testing his own limits. By welcoming different voices and different approaches to both playing and songwriting, by framing Ricked Wicky as a collaboration of equals, he establishes more than ever that he has very few.