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Other Ways of Speaking

Russell Crowe & 30 Odd Foot of Grunts

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Album Review

Perhaps it was inevitable that 30 Odd Foot of Grunts would always be seen through the prism of Russell Crowe, since anytime celebrities (particularly ones that famous) front a rock band, it is forever seen as their band. In Crowe's case, he is the group's lead singer and chief songwriter, but calling the band simply his implies that they are a vanity project, when the group had been active for a decade prior to the 2003 release of their third album, Other Ways of Speaking, and Crowe had been recording for even longer. If anything, his status as a superstar and Oscar-winning actor hurts the band, because it makes it much harder for the group to be taken seriously, which is something they do deserve. They're an interesting band with big ambitions in the vein of U2, but tethered to the ground by the Aussie pub-rock tradition, something that produces music that pushes and pulls between two extremes. As a result, Other Ways of Speaking can often sound like an album about 10-15 years out of time, as if the group were contemporaries with Paul Kelly and shooting for serious global domination in the time when Amnesty International was holding charity concerts. This might hurt their chances of widespread recognition in 2003, but it does make for a record that is at once admirable and infuriating — admirable because it has ambitions, infuriating because it's hard not to wish those ambitions were focused. But even with its flaws, Other Ways of Speaking is a worthy affair, not least because Crowe is a hell of a frontman, with a good husky voice, and a sturdy songwriter as well. This kind of proudly unfashionable music is much like the man himself, and if it's hard to imagine too many punters for this kind of big, sweeping music in 2003, this easily holds its own against any purveyors of "big music" from 1988-1991.

Biography

Formed: Australia

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Rock group 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, featuring Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe, formed in 1992. Crowe and Billy-Dean Cochran had been playing music together since their teens in New Zealand (including a band called Roman Antix), and before that, Crowe had released solo singles. In 1987, the two moved to Australia and eventually met up with brothers Dave Kelly and Garth Adam. They became 30 Odd Foot of Grunts with the addition of drummer Don Brown and guitarist Mark Rosier. Brown and Rosier exited...
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Other Ways of Speaking, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts
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