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Enuff Z’Nuff – Clowns Lounge

Enuff Z’Nuff
Clowns Lounge
by Anton Sanatov at 12 January 2017, 10:50 AM

Mementoes can vary in their intentions. That piece of time-travelling history that you’ve held onto through all those years can either be a bleak, sombre reminder of a cherished age or a cheerful note of a symphony that once rang through the halls of youth. Yet certain trophies of past times can also often loose their merits in the long-run, and so much so that with each passing year a once-appealing trophy of a bygone era may appear to be nothing more than a trinket of a foolish escapade.

Everyone loves 80’s Metal, there’s no sense in denying it; I know I do. For even amidst the chaos, the infamous ‘decade of decadence’ managed to dose the Metal movement with a charge so potent that we are still feeling its dazing effects. Of course, everyone appreciates a good reminder of the proverbial epoch once in a while; a throwback to get those spry juices flowing. However, some those reminders are not always welcome, for their brand of nostalgia is often one of kitsch and juvenile value, and for all its good intentions, only serves to bring up foolish anecdotes that should’ve been left in the rear-view.

ENUFF Z’NUFF were not the biggest name on the sunset strip, however, their perseverance nonetheless helped the band establish a lengthy Glam Metal career that carries on to this day, and like many of their contemporaries, the band continue to pump the veins of the once-popular style in hope of resurrecting memories of old. Alas, their latest “Clowns Lounge” does little more than drudge up loose remnants of the past.

The album’s opener – and most probably its catchiest track – “Dog on a Bone” welcomes the listener yet again to the house of easy rocking riffs and playful choruses à la L.A. GUNS and FASTER PUSSYCAT. This somewhat “goofy” introduction proceeds to give way to “Runaway” and the VAN HALEN-tinged “ Back in Time”, a couple of bittersweet 80’s rockers the likes of which pretty much dominate the entire record.

It must be said that “Clowns Lounge” does indeed manage to capture a very nice and honest “feel-good” vibe, and tracks like “Rockabye Dreamland” and “Radio” do have a nice, fun, summer charm to them. Yet for all the album’s attempts at resurrecting the glee and merriment of the “good-old-times” the songs remain uneventful and vapid – not to mention lyrically sub-par. Even the Jani Lane (WARRANT) and James Young (STYX) assisted “The Devil of Shakespeare”, whilst being one of the more interesting tracks on the record, sounds flat and unenthusiastic, thus wasting what should have otherwise been a dynamite collaboration.

The production on this record had me somewhat divided. Whilst in essence it is quite abysmal – the mix completely buries the instruments in favour of the vocals and the overall quality of sound is something that you might get from recording on sandpaper – the lacklustre production does in-fact give the songs a very vintage feel; as if every track is playing through an old car radio.

Overall – “Clown Lounge” is far too frivolous to be taken seriously. Whilst ENUFF Z’NUFF’s overly carefree and simplistic approach is perhaps endearing, it fails to produce substantial compositional efforts and thus makes this album nothing more than a handful of B-Sides collected throughout the course of the band’s career.

Songwriting: 6
Originality: 4
Memorability: 4
Production: 3

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. Dog on a Bone
  2. Runaway
  3. Back in Time
  4. She Makes It Harder
  5. Rockabye Dreamland
  6. The Devil of Shakespeare (Feat. Jani Lane, James Young)
  7. Radio
  8. Good Luv
  9. Round and Round
  10. Nothing
  11. Backstreet Kids
  12. One More Hit
Lineup:
Chip Z’nuff – Lead Vocals, Bass, Guitar
Tony Fennell – Guitar, Vocals
Tory Stoffregen – Lead Guitar, Vocals
Erik Donner – Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Record Label: Frontiers Records
     


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