Bad Astronaut Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment

Launched in early 2000 as the pop-focused side project of Lagwagon front-man Joey Cape, Bad Astronaut has consistently proven that Cape’s musical abilities extend far beyond the limited definitions his pop punk discography might suggest. The band’s second and final full-length, Twelve Small Steps is a record that toys with the synth-led power-pop of band like the Rentals while incorporating greater punk influence and, equally, folk and electronic elements. The record is made all the more powerful emotionally when one considers the recent loss of the band’s drummer, Derrick Plourde, whose suicide in mid-production left the future of the record in question. In memory of his life-long friend, Cape — who penned Lagwagon’s most recent full-length, Resolve — struggled with where or not to complete Twelve Small Steps, and the decision to go on has made for an emotionally raw listening experience. (Fat Wreck)