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Release Date: December 2, 2016
I have been a fan of Enuff Z’Nuff since the moment their neon power pop goodness came onto my television screen in the form of “New Thing.” I have stuck with them through the ups (Strength, Tweaked, Dissonance and the immortal Welcome to Blue Island in my humble opinion) and the downs (seeing them play in small bars for 20 people, Donnie Vie’s constant in and out status, and the Peach Fuzz album). I don’t plan to abandon ship anytime soon.
And I told you all that to tell you this…Clown’s Lounge is for diehard fans only. It’s just that kinda release. If you haven’t heard the band in a while then stick with one of my “up” suggestions and make your way to this one later. For this release, Chip Z’Nuff is once again helming the ship while his Lennon, Donnie Vie, deals with health issues. What he offers here is a collection of b-sides, demos, and a new single.
So, let’s start with the new song, “Dog on a Bone.” I have never been a huge fan of Chip’s vocals (I did quite enjoy Johnny Monaco live though) but I dig this song a lot, from its understated tribute to Scott Weiland to its big riff Rock and Roll sound, this is an anthem through and through. Enuff Z’Nuff has always been at their best when playing anthems and it’s no different in 2016. With the exception of “Devil of Shakespeare,” which features the late Janie Lane on vocals, the rest of the tunes feature Donnie Vie.
“Runaway” is a highlight in a sea of oddities as well. Although it’s demo quality, it encapsulates the Enuff Z’Nuff sound. It’s bright pop melodies and deep riffs will leave you wondering why this didn’t make an album. “Back in Time” continues the streak with that same OG sound that put the band on the map. From here on out the album does a hill and valley routine, which is not entirely unexpected from a b-sides/demos album.
The highlights of what’s left are certainly the Beatlesesque candy-shine of “Rockabye Dreamland,” where Vie’s voice really shines, and the more Rock and Roll sound of “Backstreet Kids.” The latter is pretty explosive for an Enuff Z’Nuff song but it’s a solid reminder of how powerful those first two albums were and how much they would redefine that sound over the next decade. The recording is rough but the song is so good it shines through it all.
Overall, this is a solid album for what it is. It reminds me a bit of “?” but the recordings here are a lot rougher. It’s a strange follow-up to Dissonance (which also featured ex-Ozzy Osbourne axeman Jake E. Lee…so yeah, you should go find it if you don’t have it) and Covered in Gold but it’s always nice to have a new Enuff Z’Nuff. I still cannot believe that Enuff Z’Nuff never managed to rule the world of music but I suppose there is still time!
Reviewed by mark1340