30 Odd foot of Grunts: Randi Lynn Beach/Getty Images
Jim Farber
April 18, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Actors reveal characters. Singers reveal themselves. Russell Crowe may be masterful at the former, but though he’s made music for a full decade, Other Ways of Speaking, his new CD with 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, still sounds like a vanity project.

The Grunts’ tunes milk folk-rock clichés, while Crowe’s vocals strain with faux sensitivity. A guest duet with Chrissie Hynde nails the problem: When she sings, he disappears.

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