I feel at this point in the website’s life I can be honest with you all. We are all friends, right?
I’ve never cared for The Beatles.
I understand their legacy, I understand how important they are to modern music still and how far they reach, but when it comes to their actual songs….I have to be honest and say, “nah not for me.”
But then, to be absolutely contrary, I do like bands that owe the Fab Four a debt. To that end, as I’ve written before on here, I have always been someone who likes to explore once I’ve found something I like.
So it was that thanks to the Chart Show TV show in the UK back in the late 80s/early 90s, I came across The Electric Boys. Who introduced me to what I suppose was psychedelic tinged music for the first time in my life. I didn’t know that at the time of, course. I was 14 years old. All I knew was that “All Lips N Hips” ruled all and I wanted more of it.
I found it too, not easy in the pre-internet age, but the same year that Conny Bloom and the boys were doing their thang, so were Chip Z’nuff and Donnie Vie. Enuff Z’nuff got bonus points because they looked like my heroes then – Poison and Dogs D’Amour – and they sounded a bit like the Electric Boys as far as I could tell.
That’s my point. All the labels and whatever we have to put on things now, didn’t exist then. I didn’t know all this sound came from The Beatles later albums, from Cheap Trick (I did get into them a year or so later because Brett Michaels liked them) and whoever else.
And what does it matter? It doesn’t, not really. It’s rock n roll and it either connects or it doesn’t.
Enuff Z’nuff did and still do.
Chip, to be fair to him has been keeping the flame alive for years. And a little bit like Ginger Wildheart, he has a gift for sounding like he does. Whatever he does.
So it is that after a bit of a preamble “Transcendence” does the trippy thing, there’s some fuzzy glammed up stuff on the title track, which has a kind of incessant stomp. Oh, and harmonies, crikey there’s some harmonies! Which is sort of the default setting here.
“Where Did You Go” combines a Stones-like lead with the sound of summer – but as always with EZN, scrape away the veneer and things aren’t quite as sugar sweet. Here, “families are frightened cos all the kids are smoking Mary Jane” or “fighting in the streets where hate collides” and if ever a band was proof that you can wrap your punches up in a velvet glove its this one.
“We’re All the Same” – arguably the highlight here – chugs as though it’s got stuff to do and as it takes the modern world on, it concludes that its brought us all closer. Nice thought.
“Fire And Ice” offers the idea that “sex and drugs are a physical thing” over something that soars a little more stridently than most here, while “Down On Luck” has a quite glorious melody to go with its dark heart. A world of “cheap cocaine” awaits before the end, and you can almost sense the walls closing in.
“Metalheart” is perhaps the heaviest thing here so is well named – its not Iron Maiden, don’t get me wrong – but there is a harder edge (maybe Van Halen, say). “Love Is On The Line” balances this out by being a fine ballad, and Noel Gallagher would kill for this to be fair.
“Faith Hope, Luv” might as well be the mission statement here, and Chip’s bass is almost funky, while “Dopesick” is another where the musical vibe hides the lyrics. And that vibe is like some lost Mott The Hoople song, too.
Indeed, that 70s glam thing is mined again, and the closing “Imaginary Man” is a whole heap of ELO, which is just fine around here.
At this point in his career, Chip Z’Nuff knows what he’s doing, and with a fine band around him he is able to carry off that vision perfectly. And you know what? When you strip it all away, this sounds like Enuff Z’Nuff.