Bastard Life or Clarity

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
A few years back, a comedian spun a routine about misnamed ventures, including such establishments as the First Baptist Motel and Bob and Ed's Savings Bank. This Aussie aggregation, fronted by bad-boy actor Russell Crowe, would seem to fit neatly into that category, but the Gladiator star's presence has put the unsavory moniker on the lips of fans who'd probably ordinarily steer well clear of recorded Grunt-ing. Actually, TOFOG (as they've come to be called) aren't nearly as gnarly as you might think, getting by on the strength of strongly strummed acoustic guitars and Crowe's moody (if somewhat limited) baritone rasp. Crowe proves he's every bit as adept at slipping ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
A few years back, a comedian spun a routine about misnamed ventures, including such establishments as the First Baptist Motel and Bob and Ed's Savings Bank. This Aussie aggregation, fronted by bad-boy actor Russell Crowe, would seem to fit neatly into that category, but the Gladiator star's presence has put the unsavory moniker on the lips of fans who'd probably ordinarily steer well clear of recorded Grunt-ing. Actually, TOFOG (as they've come to be called) aren't nearly as gnarly as you might think, getting by on the strength of strongly strummed acoustic guitars and Crowe's moody (if somewhat limited) baritone rasp. Crowe proves he's every bit as adept at slipping in and out of characters on disc as he is on screen, playing the wounded tough guy on the pulsing "Things Have Got to Change" and the seductive stranger on the Delta two-step "Swept Away Bayou." He also pulls off some nifty vocal mimicry here and there, lacing "The Night That Davey Hit the Train" with a dead-on Elvis Costello impression. TOFOG aren't, however, just another example of Hollywood hubris: Bastard Life of Clarity is actually the band's fourth album (albeit the first to attain Stateside release), and while Crowe is clearly the focal point, he allows ample room for his bandmates -- including trumpeter Stuart Kirwan, whose shadings enliven the striking, Celtic-tinged "Memorial Day" -- to shine. While not an overwhelming effort, Bastard Life of Clarity has a surprisingly subtle charm -- one that can sneak up and win over even the cynics.
All Music Guide - Brad Kohlenstein
TOFOG may be one of those bands who's destined to be just a conversation piece. Aside from the fact that everyone outside of Australia is baffled by their name, their lead singer and main songwriter is one of Hollywood's biggest stars. By nature people will link Russell Crowe with the likes Kevin Bacon and Jeff Bridges, who have launched second careers in rock & roll (both to a predominantly unreceptive audience). But this is much more than a side project for Crowe. TOFOG began making music together in the early '80s, well before Crowe was an international superstar. Bastard Life or Clarity is their fifth album. It is well-thought-out, well-produced, and proof that they intend to be taken seriously. That being said, it is not an album that takes many chances. It's straightforward, guitar-driven, mid-tempo rock with a touch of country that sounds a lot like watered-down Bon Jovi or the semi-successful comeback album of any number of '80s bands. "Things Have Got to Change" is a promising start, but turns out to be one of the disc's most distinctive tracks. Crowe's voice is strong enough that one can almost forget that he's a movie star. That is, of course, until he blows his cover with a tough-guy monologue in the middle of the second track. His lyrics are neither offensive or memorable, but the arrangements and musicianship provide some surprisingly moving moments. Though used sparingly, Stewart Kirwan's lone trumpet is particularly affecting, adding another layer and a uniqueness to an album that is otherwise little more than something to talk about.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/18/2001
  • Label: Artemis Records
  • UPC: 699675109226
  • Catalog Number: 51092

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Russell Crowe & 30 Odd Foot of Grunts Primary Artist
Russell Crowe Indexed Contributor, Band, Group Member
Ian McLagan Keyboards
Lili Haydn Violin
Novi Novag Viola
Kerryn Tolhurst Dobro, Guitar, tiple
Dave Kelly Band Band
Dave Wilkins Band
Anthony Kable Trombone
Garth Adam Band, Group Member
David Kelly Group Member
Stewart Kirwan Band
Andrew Bickers Saxophone
Lennie Loftin Background Vocals
Billy Dean Cochran Band
Technical Credits
Steve Hall Mastering
Paul Lani Mastering
Julian McBrowne Engineer
Kerryn Tolhurst Producer
Tony Wall Producer, Engineer
Dave Wilkins Producer, Mastering, Production Mixing Assistant
Russell Crowe & 30 Odd Foot of Grunts Producer
J.W. Morris Arranger
Andrew Watt Production Mixing Assistant
Russell Crowe Production Mixing Assistant
Billy Dean Cochran Producer
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A treat to say the least!!!

    Found TOFOG as a result of being a Russell Crowe movie fan. Now I am a fan of the whole band. They rock and roll and tell wonderful stories. The more I hear it the more I like it. I will definitely order some of their other CDs. TOFOG reminds me of an Aussie Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    not as good as the photograph kills, but still great

    This CD, although not the band's best but it still has the same great vocals (russell crowe has the sexiest voice ever),excellent blues-based rock guitar, and general all-around great rock sound that TOFOG fans love. The Legend of Barry Kable would be no great loss had it been left off, but The Night That Davey Hit the Train and Swept Away Bayou are both excellent songs. The album is definitely worth buying.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    not much life in bastard life

    Cd from thirty-something antipodean wannabies. Weak leadsinger and lyrics. Wallpaper cd. Old songs on a new cd, very disappointing for the fans. Please don't disturb us with this boring, lifeless coffeetable cd. Liked the trompet and the title though.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews