Cosmonaut Bob / Return From Reality
Heads Up! This article is 19 years old.
Bassist John DeGroff was an original member of the founding
Christian rock band Petra. Although Ive never been a fan of this
band, from the insane bass playing on Return From Reality,
DeGroffs latest project, I can only speculate that Petra used to be
pretty talented. Sure, thats a cheap shot at whatever incarnation
Petra currently inhabits, but its my review and Ill sucker
punch whoever I feel like.
But I digress … Cosmonaut Bob are two highly opinionated people
forced to work together in a small room, those opinionated people
being the aforementioned DeGroff and guitarist Rachell Willhite.
Joining the musical fray is drummer Matthew VanNus and an individual
by the moniker of Randy Santiman whose name is all over the
But back to Bob, er, John. You can tell from these 10 tasty
instrumentals that hes a real bass player – its in his veins, bone
marrow and endocrine system. Hes not some wanna-be guitarist who has
resigned himself to playing bass and thus buys a cheap knockoff.
Nope, you can hear from the exquisite bass tone that this is a
quality instrument played by someone who loves the instrument. And he
kicks bass buttocks. Thats refreshing like an ice-cold Yoohoo.
The songs themselves are quite good, generally being structured
around a melodic and engaging bass line. The pieces are short
(bearing unique names like Poodles from Hell and Duct Tape
Dilemma) and the variety of styles (everything from Black Sabbath to
Steve Vai to jazz to blues to rock) keep listener ennui from setting
in. Likewise, the guitar playing is excellent, both technically and
melodically, and the two instruments play perfectly with each other,
making me want to hear more than the brief 30 minutes presented.
Were I to stop here, Id recommend this album with gushing tones to
all, but there are problems that should have been caught. Without
fail the drums, although real, were recorded such that even at their
best they sound like a flat, cheesy drum machine straight out of
1981. A number of times the signal from the bass is so hot that
digital noise occurs; while there can be a way to use this
artistically, this was obviously not intentional. Disk space is cheap
so why not record it again but with a touch of compression, eh?
This could have been a bassists delight as the songwriting and performances are excellent. As it stands, however, I can only give it two out of four strings.