Fire Note Says: You want rock? Pollard’s Ricked Wicky has you covered!
Album Review: If you have been a fan of the Guided By Voices reunion output then I am sure you are still feeling the punch in the gut that came back in September when the band abruptly called it quits. With concert dates still on the schedule it just ended too quickly with no time to say goodbye. As sad as that day was for fans, the faithful know that there is no way that Robert Pollard was going anywhere. In fact, he already has a new band with Ricked Wicky that features fellow Daytonian Nick Mitchell, Todd Tobias (Circus Devils) and drummer Kevin March (Guided by Voices).
Like all his previous projects, Ricked Wicky has its own style, flavor and taste. Many times these offshoots are dependent on two things: 1) Pollard’s mood and 2) who is in the band. Ricked Wicky’s sound benefits from both, as Pollard is in arena rock mode and he has brought along a talented and seasoned veteran on guitar with Mitchell, someone he knows in and out on bass with Tobias and one of the strongest drummers in the GBV family with March. It is a combination that is successful from the first lick in opener “Well Suited” to the closer and longest song on the record at 3:34, “A Real Stab.”
It has always been fairly easy to connect the dots between many of Pollard’s “rock” projects to The Who. Ricked Wicky is no different but this time around that big Roger Daltrey delivery and the deeper Pete Townshend intricate guitar work just pours out of I Sell The Circus. This is no more evident than on “Mobility” when Pollard power sings the lines with purpose “I sell the circus; I make the posters; I skim the profits; I spin the tops; until they come off” while the guitar drives the background and March hits the skins with authority. It is the type of track that defines a band. Even with that staple of a song present here, there are still plenty of paths that Ricked Wicky go down that shake it up a bit, such as the instrumental guitar solo “Tomorrow”, the swaying “Cow Headed Moon” complete with its opening strings and the trash glam rock that is “The Intellectual Types.”
What I really liked about Ricked Wicky is that I Sell The Circus catches you very quickly. It is not an album that takes four or five spins to get or even understand such as Pollard’s Teenage Guitar material. I Sell The Circus is an automatic shot of adrenaline that pulses in the name of classic rock that salutes old school working bands like Cheap Trick and Thin Lizzy. Ricked Wicky have paid their dues and I Sell The Circus is Pollard’s loud announcement that he is alive and kicking!
Key Tracks: “Mobility” / “Death Metal Kid” / “The Intellectual Types”
Artists With Similar Fire: The Who / Cheap Trick / UFO
Ricked Wicky Website
Ricked Wicky Facebook
– Reviewed by Christopher Anthony