Bassist John DeGroff was an original member of the founding

Christian rock band Petra. Although I’ve never been a fan of this

band, from the insane bass playing on Return From Reality,

DeGroff’s latest project, I can only speculate that Petra used to be

pretty talented. Sure, that’s a cheap shot at whatever incarnation

Petra currently inhabits, but it’s my review and I’ll 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 he’s a real bass player – it’s in his veins, bone

marrow and endocrine system. He’s 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. That’s 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, I’d 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.