Todd Grubbs - As the Worm Turns

Todd Grubbs As the Worm Turns cover
Todd Grubbs
As the Worm Turns
Grubbworm Music
Todd Grubbs is a Tampa based virtuoso guitarist that some may know from his solo instrumental efforts, who now comes through with a “vocal” album which still contains a few extended instrumental sections for good measure.
“As the Worm Turns” is more song oriented, but Todd cannot seem to avoid some fireworks, cracking here and there, making the overall style a little idiosyncratic and not entirely unlike John 5’s sort of “weird” without many parallels in the performances however.
The first couple of songs are handled by Zak Stevens (Savatage, Circle to Circle) namely, “The Man in the Hat” and “Stay Alive” (feat. Zak Stevens) and they are basically dealing with the regrets of a soldier during a midlife crisis and his memories of “D-Day”… Stevens is as expected good and solid, although the latter song seems to drift a bit towards being quite lengthy at some eight plus minutes.
The next two songs “The Other Side of Forever” (feat. Emily Velasco) a new talent and “We Are One” (feat. John Wesley) conclude the concept of the soldier, the one being the reflections of the soldier’s wife back at home and the other one examining the soldier at the end of his life coming to peace and trying to understand everything he has been through. Deeper and more introspective as well as bluesier songs with the vocals of Emily but also JW (Porcupine Tree) being quite soul stirring.
The former EV returns for “Venus is Falling” a pretty nice and laid-back tune that however has some pretty soulful vocals while seemingly being able to fuse some more traditional influences with some more modern moods (feat. Emily Velasco).
“Living the Good Lie” and “My Name is Joe” (feat. Todd Plant of Eyewitness and Cryptic Vision) and they former is a pretty groovy blues rocker, while the latter a is a rather noodley and weird number that is a both a little funky and a bit bluesy and a bit out of its own mind!
I’m not entirely sure if TG himself handles “Johnstown” along with some help but this one’s a whole lot more “country”/grassroots inspired and rather uneventful with its acoustic twangy melodies that are kinda predictable.
“Fabric of the Day” (feat. Melanie Sims) another interesting young female vocalist is fragile and ethereal with even some piano touches, predominantly bluesy and rather poignant…
While “It’s Redunkulas” I have to presume again handled by TG (whose vocals are not stellar) has him repeating that phrase over a phrase, while pitching over the verses in a way that reminded me a bit of Dave Mustaine and that’s not exactly a compliment, when it comes to vocals I guess…
Lastly, “Escape from You” isn’t all that different, but here, things do get a bit reminiscent of a more “Murican” version of the Rolling Stones with a bit more shred…
Not a bad album per se, good/solid performances, but the variety of styles attempted from song to song hardly gel together in a cohesive manner. Also while the mix is good, the mastering could have probably felt a bit “livelier” since the overall resulting sound feels a bit too dead and dry which in some cases/songs works, but it others suffocates the songs…