Guided By Robert Pollard

Ricked Wicky
Swimmer To A Liquid Armchair

by Propellerless

We Guided By Voices/Robert Pollard fans are a spoiled lot.
Sure it was a drag when the reunited Classic line-up called it a day.
But after six albums, 23 singles and one ep,
didn’t they more than deliver, especially with the quality with the material?
Of course they did.

So in 2015 when Bob released three albums and seven singles,
as new band/side project, Ricked Wicky,
I was really hoping that it would result in a tour
and hopefully a full time band.
Of course that’s not the way it turned out.

The three Ricked Wicky albums, “I Sell The Circus”, “King Heavy Metal”,
and “Swimmer To a Liquid Armchair”, were released months apart,
but each one had a completely different feel and sound.

If Bob someday announced that the three albums
were actually recorded years apart,
I wouldn’t be surprised at all.
But apparently that wasn’t the case.

Where the reunited Classic line-up albums seemed to be
pieced together from different recording sessions and situations,
example, a lot of Tobin songs seemed to be recorded in his own studio
and some of Bob’s songs were probably recorded solo.

Which is fine with me, because that's how many of my favorite GBV albums
seemed to be recorded.

But the difference is, the Ricked Wicky albums really have a “Band” sound.

Speaking of the band,
Great line-up!
The rhythm section with Bob’s long-time collaborator Todd Tobias on bass,
who is the multi-instrumentalist behind Circus Devils and the majority of
Bob’s solo albums, with his bass playing bordering on Prog and Metal
and the powerful, solid drumming of Kevin March,
who rejoined Bob on the last GBV’s album, “Cool Planet”.

Multi-instrumentalist Nick Mitchell’s guitar playing is amazing.
Like I admitted on the reviews of the other two Ricked Wicky albums,
I wasn’t that crazy about his songs that he sings, which he has two on this album.
But I’m totally a fan of his guitar playing.

There is a 70’s quality to his playing,
yet his rhythm guitar playing is very Guided By Voices’ sounding.

My friend Mike saw Guided By Voices with Nick Mitchell on guitar,
it was his first time seeing GBV live.
He said Nick was great, but the fans didn’t seem to like him.
which I don’t really understand.

I sure hope that the way the fans treated Nick didn’t have anything
to do with his leaving,
because that would suck, he’s such a talent.

I went with Mike and saw GBV in Atlanta, months after that first show he saw,
with Doug on guitar,
it was so great to see them perform a bunch of Ricked Wicky songs,
including, “What Are All The Paint Men Digging”, “A Number I Can Trust”,
and songs from the other two Ricked Wicky albums.

But Mike did say they played more songs from those Ricked Wicky albums
the last time he saw them.
Not really complaining though, because they did play stuff from the
then recently released, ESP Ohio and “August By Cake” albums,
both instant Classics.

But any way, “Swimmer To A Liquid Armchair” is great and it’s a pity
if any GBV fan missed out on it or the other Ricked Wicky albums
just because it doesn’t have the name Guided By Voices on it.
The way I see it is,
anything Bob records is Guided By Voices,
because, he is Guided By voices.

Though I’m not crazy about the video,
“Poor Substitute” is a great song.
“Red Legged Pygmalion”, “Crystal Titanic” and “No Man Would Develop”
would be great live.
Love “Could I See the List One More Time”.

Cool backwards masking on “The Curse”.

Sure, I’m happy that we have a new line-up of Guided By Voices
and it’s great to have Doug back (is he still a member of Nada Surf and why?)
and the rest of the lineup, thankfully including Kevin March,
and the two (a third coming in March 2018) great albums,
but it was sad to see Ricked Wicky come to an end.

Like I said,
Bob spoils us, sure I should be happy to have the three
Ricked Wicky albums he gave us.
Just like I’m still bumming from the breakup of Circus Devils,
even though we got fourteen albums.
We’re Spoiled!

But I always remember…In Bob We Trust!