Bad Astronaut
Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment


4.0
excellent

Review

by Ben Jimenez USER (36 Reviews)
June 15th, 2007 | 15 replies | 5,883 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With the death of Bad Astronaut drummer Derrick Plourde changing the lives of everyone around him, front man Joey Cape decided to take action and throw his emotions on the table. The result is a heartbreaking elegy feauturing Plourde's posthumous work.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

The story behind this album could have been first read in a dramatic movie script, or on the wall of a bathroom stall. These stories often develop unheard until it’s too late. Suicide is the last resort plea that allows others to recognize how much one needed assistance in their toughest times. The late drummer of Bad Astronaut, Derrick Plourde, took his life in March of 2005 before the official release of “Twelve Steps, One Giant Disappointment,” to the shock of the punk community and those who knew of Derek. Once an experienced drummer and band mate of Lagwagon and Bad Astronaut frontman Joey Cape, Plourde’s actions reverberated through Cape, Plourde’s family and friends. Cape has since dedicated Lagwagon’s latest album “Resolve” to Plourde, and its content conveys the intense internal struggles that everyone has when a very close friend leaves them forever. Though Plourde had left Lagwagon, he was a member of Cape’s side project Bad Astronaut until his death. “Twelve Steps” is Derrick’s album, demonstrating Bad Astronaut’s finest song construction to date with frustration, desperation, and the haunting element of posthumous musicianship.

The musical progression of Bad Astronaut was obviously influenced by Plourde, but what is most distinct is Plourde’s drum work on the album. “Twelve Steps, One Giant Disappointment” includes Plourde’s compositions while crashing behind Cape’s urgent tone, often filled with denial or scorn. Cape questions and mourns throughout the entire album, “How am I supposed to feel? / I thought we had an agreement / and real or not, I believed it…and you wanted out / yeah you got out.” Later in “Twelve Steps,” a taste of a personal session between Cape and Plourde engages the listener to understand the scope of the album. It quickly becomes clear after a first listen how significant their relationship was.

Each song plays off of the mood of the last, with a deteriorating energy transitioning into a somber lament. To achieve this feel the album contains its collection of keyboard work and synthesizers to continue a listener’s adventure through Bad Astronauts’ space atmosphere, whether layered over a modest rock beat on “San Francisco Serenade” or a slowly timed acoustic guitar introduction on “Minus.” This distinguishable sound is perpetual, with Joey Cape’s naïve and boyish tone, ensuring the album’s originality and emotional authenticity. Unfortunately (yet appropriately), this is Bad Astronaut’s last album.

As a listener, you may feel as if you’re flipping through the pages of Plourde’s photo album, with each page interactively revealing his troubles and his triumphs. When it ends, the memories are lasting. The listener is not only able to sympathize with Cape, but go further and hear Plourde’s cries as well. And that’s what he wanted all along.



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Chart.
4
excellent
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Comments:Add a Comment 
spoon_of_grimbo
June 15th 2007



2240 Comments


i've not heard any original BA material yet, only a cover of NOFX's "linoleum" but on the strength of this review, i might just check them out. great review!

Abaddon2005
June 15th 2007



684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is pretty tight stuff, and nice review.

Intransit
June 15th 2007



2797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review. This is pretty great, but I never find myself listening to it. Houston: We Have a Drinking Problem is just so much better.

StrizzMatik
July 13th 2007



3176 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

One of my favorite bands. This album isn't as good as Houston by a long shot, but still very very very good.

Digging: United Nations - The Next Four Years

Two-Headed Boy
July 17th 2007



4527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just listening to "The F Word". I fucking choke up so easily.

Goddamn it this album is soooo fucking good. Houston is better for sure, but still...this is fantastic.

Two-Headed Boy
September 5th 2007



4527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Okay I think this may either be on par or maybe better than Houston at this point.

Intransit
April 17th 2008



2797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The F Word is probably one of their best songs, but Houston on the whole is still better. Love this album more as I listen to it though.

pow3rtr1p
August 12th 2008



10 Comments


I definitely need to listen to this more. I love it every time I do, but I find myself not listening to it often enough. Time to change that.

StrizzMatik
October 24th 2008



3176 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

The F Word is fantastic and epic, but my personal favorite is "Best Western" with "San Francisco Serenade" a close second. I find that this record musically is a lot more in the vein of Acrophobe with its more pop-punk/straightforward rock leanings. Not quite as experimental as Houston was but this band did everything right anyways.

StrizzMatik
January 19th 2010



3176 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Bump, fantastic band/album and so criminally neglected

MeatSalad
April 26th 2010



14195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So many good songs on this.

Digging: Love - Forever Changes

doomvendingmachine
September 11th 2011



94 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Better than Houston.

StrizzMatik
September 11th 2011



3176 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I don't know... Houston is pretty perfect.

MeatSalad
October 23rd 2011



14195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Houston is pretty flawless. Gave that one a five.

StrizzMatik
May 1st 2013



3176 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Still such a criminally underrated, neglected band. Bummed that Joey Cape isn't going to put out the b-sides record.



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