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Enuff Z'Nuff: Clown's Lounge

With 2010's Dissonance being the last album from Enuff Z'Nuff before singer and guitarist Donnie Vie finally, through ill health and a disdain for the music business, said enough was enough, and left (I'm glossing over the covers album, Covered In Gold…), many have been intrigued by what the band's now only original member, Chip Z'Nuff, would do next. Well, the first thing is step up to the mic, the bassist taking on that role for live shows since Johnny Monaco also departed, before working on and releasing the first post Donnie album, Clown's Lounge. Well I say post Donnie, but in fact this album isn't 'all new' EZ'N at all, instead, like 2004s ?, Clown's Lounge consists of a selection of old, spruced up and in places, re-recorded demos from way back when the band were putting material together for their first couple of albums. Therefore, what Chip did first post Donnie, was to release an album where the departed vocalist still sings much of what you hear!

That said, "Dog On A Bone" opens the album as a brand spanking new cut, Chip's less muted tones more than convincing as he belts out a hugely memorable chorus and Tory Stoffregen chugs a catchy riff. It's a great start to the album and it promises much for this band's future. From there "Runaway" takes us right back to the self titled debut/Strength era, a slow languid riff and Donnie's lazy but lovely vocals seducing as you knew they would, while it's also a joy to hear the contributions from the much missed guitarist Derek Frigo and drummer Vikki Foxx. In truth, even with the extra work Donnie has put in you can still tell these are buffed up demos, but with the beefy Beatles rock of "Back In Time" and "Rockabye Dreamland" still shimmering beautifully, it's easy to forgive the slightly muffled sound.

"The Devil Of Shakespeare" takes the aforementioned framework and gives it an almost Americana sheen, the track also notable for excellent guest slots from the sadly deceased Warrant frontman Jani Lane, and still alive and riffing Styx guitarist James JY Young (not a bad jam band to put together. Especially when you factor in keyboard player Ron Flynt and Johnny Monaco). Who'd have thought that an EZ'N meets Tom Petty hybrid could be so exciting, but it certainly is! Then again, whether through the melodic push and shove of "Radio", pulsating party pound of "Round And Round" or signature Z'Nuff hit of "Backstreet Kidz", seldom will Clown's Lounge put a foot wrong in the eyes of this band's loyal fans.

You could be unkind and answer the opening questions, of "what did Donnie do next?", by suggesting he simply sidestepped the main issue. However with this album of spruced up demos as utterly irresistible as it is, who cares? Not me and I'll be most surprised if fans of the band aren't in complete agreement.

Track Listing
1. Dog On a Bone
2. Runaway
3. Back in Time
4. She Makes It Harder
5. Rockabye Dreamland
6. The Devil of Shakespeare
7. Radio
8. Good Luv
9. Round and Round
10. Nothing
11. Backstreet Kidz
12. One More Hit

Added: January 1st 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Enuff Z'Nuff online
Hits: 1311
Language: english

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