Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home
Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Todd Grubbs

Return Of The Worm

Review by Larry Toering

After his last outing Time, Space and Electric, Todd Grubbs returns with a strong and very playful concept. On Return Of The Worm there is a thread of tape loops, mostly accompanying the titles reference to animals. All kinds of madness is displayed on this very artistic prog recording. Grubbs is a 25 year veteran virtuoso of the music scene, so he isn't exactly a stranger, but if you've never heard him, this new CD is a great place to start. This has an appearance from Blues Saraceno on one track, along with a great cast of other fine players.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 3 at

Track by Track Review
5 After 4 In The Morning

The first track sets things up with some night sounds recorded outside the studio early one morning. It builds into some chilling chords with a haunting vibe. It makes a short but appropriate introduction.

I Am Not A Commentator
Right off the bat Grubbs takes command with an all out zany funk riff. This track features different artists at points, described by Grubbs as almost every musician he has ever worked with. This also features mandolin, as well, and it was actually held over from his Beautiful Devices sessions. The energy displayed here is cosmic!
The Message
This starts off with a telephone answering machine recording of a bass riff that leads into a heavy smack in the face guitar riff. Out of nowhere things are all over the musical map before it all goes into a melodic little excursion with fantastic percussion and the listener gets a sense of being lifted. Then Grubbs flies down to the surface with a lead from heaven. The arrangement easily finds its way back after a sight bleep from that answering machine. At the end, of course the message is saved. This is quite the awesome track.
Number Station
What a groove this number gets into right away, it's a very moody piece with a laid back approach and lots of fine picking. It has loops of creepy voices from a number station that go well with the aforementioned and very infectious groove.  Once again Grubbs is spectacular here, doing what he does best.
This one has all kinds of change ups throughout, described by Grubbs as a "very strange day." It certainly must've been, but it's always nice to catch a glimpse of such a weird day in someone's life.
You Can Do It
A girl’s voice opens this track which features Grubbs on guitars, keys and some vocals. There is  also a solo from Blues Saraceno. This is a very cool track with loops from Grubbs in different voices saying “you can do it...' 
Skinny Elephant
This cut is a very mellow track with jungle sounds throughout. It all mixes together quite well. Once again Grubbs is fantastic, and there are also some vocals from his stepson. The fun continues.
Prepare To Dive
This one is about submarines, and it features more of these great tape loops from Grubbs and an outstanding melody that drives the whole thing. One really does get the effect of being in the water, and then it goes into another sequence of sounds which set a wild back drop for Grubbs to soar lightly over. This is a beautiful yet creepy track, simply freaky.
The title in the liner notes reads 'Barto'k' to clarify that difference, it opens with a recording of the band thanking the crowd at a show before going into their last number. They appear to be just warming up a bit, then more 'bar talk' interrupts. This is a cool bit of fooling around with tapes, which is one of the great features on Return Of The Worm. This one has a lovely fade away to top it off.
There is an obvious theme to this, as the title suggests, and it features some improvised recordings from the singer, referred to as “Bo.” It's mixed with bombastic guitar and more tape loops from Grubbs. The humor is through the roof on this one, and it’s overall very enjoyable.
Space Walk
What a fabulous closing track this is! This is what I call going out with a bang as Grubbs treats the ears to more variety between loops and musical artistry. This cut goes very well with “The Message.” As far as epic elements go, both are high points on the record.
More CD Reviews
Metal/Prog Metal
Progressive Rock

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2024 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./