Life or Clarity/Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts
Produced by Kerryn Tolhurst
Reviewed by: Belinda Coward
readers, the Bastards are back and someone let them loose
in the recording studio again! Bastard
Life or Clarity is the second CD from TOFOG and for
their sophomore effort I have to say, good work guys.
I know, alot of reviewers lined up to slam the CD, the
band and the especially the lead singer (and chief songwriter).
But, unlike some other bands fronted by celebrities, this
band has been around awhile, long before the media hoopla
began. But because of that lead singers day job they don't
get to be a "band" as often as I believe they
would like. Oh, who is the lead singer? Some guy named
can honestly say the songwriting on BLOC has tightened
up alot. (could still a use a little more work, but hey,
I can't write a lyric to save my life). Russell has a
tendency to write more poetry and than lyrics, but I can
see a growth in that area. The rest of the band, Garth
Adam, Billy Dean Cochran, Dave Kelly, Stewart Kirwan and
Dave Wilkens fall easily into rhythm with one another
and have developed their own style. I can really start
to hear this time a TOFOG sound. That is a sign of a real
player. With the recent successes, they could have hid
behind studio musicians, over-processed recording styles
that hide all the flaws (and make overrated acts more
successful than they deserve) but the Grunts are up front
and doing it all themselves. I always back up a band that
is willing to just put it out there in an honest way.
CD kicks off with Things Have Got To Change, written by
Crowe and Cochran. It's an upbeat sounding song which
really utilizes that addition of the horn to the band.
This really adds something to the power and sound of the
group. Memorial Day, a tribute to Russell's grandfather
follows. This is a loving tribute to man who obviously
meant alot to him, but this is one of those songs that
is written more as a poem than as a lyric. It does suffer
some from that but it is written with love and respect,
a deeply personal moment. Actually, the CD is full of
very personal moments. The Night Davey Hit The Train is
written for and dedicated to Daniel
Pollock, the young actor who costarred with Russell
in Romper Stomper.
killed himself. A very emotional experience unfortunately
shared by many.
You is an extremely sensuous song. This one has the feel
of a dark lounge, late at night and you can almost smell
the Marlboro's and beer. Russell's cigarette soaked vocals
and the almost lazy feeling bass will make you want to
get up and slowly swing your hips while sipping a Rum
and Coke while strange men ...Oh wait, sorry, I was getting
carried away! Ahem.
Those Same Oceans, written by Crowe, Cochran and Adam
could easily find it's place on any top 40 radio station
play list. This song is the strongest as far as singles
go! Everything just works right here. Russell uses his
vocals to their best while Garth, Dean, Stew, Dave and
Dave bring it on home in capable hands.
on this CD are two songs from the first CD, Gaslight.
The Legend of Barry Kable. I thought I was going to have
to take the band to task for doing this. I was half right.
The remix of Barry Kable and the vocals add a softness
to this sad, violent tale. The pure poetry is revealed
in this version, "he crossed that road like a river",
is really given the meaning it deserves. But, Wendy does
not work for me here. It is almost like an interruption.
I wish the band had actually opted to cover someone else's
song instead. The band members write all the material
this group is not signed to a label so I am sure finding
BLOC won't be as easy as running down to your local record
store. But, this is the internet, so go to www.gruntland.com
and place an order. Hell, while you are there, you can
even vote for what cities the band will visit when they
tour.If you are a Russell Crowe fan, this is a must have.
If you believe in supporting a band that doesn't hide
behind pretense then get it. You'll get caught up in the
stories being told here.
signing off and going to put the Bastard back on for another
listen and another Rum and Coke!