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Friday, 22 March, 2002, 17:57 GMT
Musical Crowe falls flat
Russell Crowe's band 30 Odd Foot of Grunts
Crowe's band: Not selling well in the UK
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By the BBC's Michael Osborn
line

In the acting stakes, Russell Crowe is at the peak of his powers.

The Australian star has one Oscar on his mantelpiece for Gladiator, and was nominated this year for his performance in A Beautiful Mind.

But away from Hollywood, Crowe has a less illustrious sideline which he has quietly worked away at for more than 20 years.

The acclaimed star of the silver screen is a musician, who writes songs, sings and strums a guitar in his very own band, 30 Odd Foot Of Grunts.

30 Odd Foot of Grunts
Not just part-time amateurs
This Aussie sextet have just released a new album called Clarity, which made the news for selling a paltry 156 copies in its first week of release in the UK.

Crowe's record company were quick to leap to his defence, saying he was "not interested in marketing his music"- while the album cover carries a sticker adorned with the famous actor's name.

But it looks like few people are convinced that an acting superstar's place in an unheralded band would make them worth listening to.

Well, their gut instincts are right - Crowe's folksy pop band have the earthy, rustic appeal of pub musicians, and many of their dated songs could be used as incidental music in Neighbours.

Painful

The musical arrangements are bright and honest, while the set of musicians backing up Crowe know what they are doing.

It would be unfair to call them part-time amateurs without a decent tune between them.

What ruins this album is the star turn himself. Crowe plays the role of lead vocalist, with his gravelled voice smeared over every song.

True, it is not horribly out of tune, but does not win any prizes for being easy on the ear.

He likes to announce his presence at the start of many tracks with a little word to his musicians - something like an entrance, stage left.

He also slips into soliloquy mode on Memorial Day, with gut-wrenching consequences.

The actor treats us to some of his heartfelt lyrics. But on this occasion, a television executive did not get the chance to leave them on the cutting room floor.

Clarity seems to be another exercise in a renowned Hollywood star taking some time out to enjoy the buzz of performing as a musician - think of Keanu Reeve┐s own rock band Dogstar.

Crowe seems to enjoy himself on this album, and good luck to him. It just seems unfortunate that he inevitably attracts attention because he is such a major star.

He will not pick up any gongs for it though - Crowe should stick to the day job and concentrate on making the odd film or two.

Clarity is available on the Gruntland/Brunswick record label

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
30 Odd Foot of Grunts
"Hear a clip from Sail Those Same Oceans"
See also:

15 Mar 02 | Music
Crowe album struggles to sell
23 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Crowe's upward flight
26 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Crowe 'angry' over edited speech
13 Feb 02 | Oscars 2002
Crowe 'unsatisfied' with his acting
23 Jan 02 | Reviews
Crowe's beautiful film
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