The latest album from veteran hard rock band Enuff Z’Nuff is a curious one in my mind. I say this because at first glance of the CD booklet I discovered that the “classic” line-up seemed to be back in place. Now, if you’ve been following the band over the years you would know this line-up hasn’t been together for over 10 years now! Singer Donnie Vie hasn’t toured with the band in the last several years while both drummer Vic Foxx and guitarist Derek Frigo haven’t been with the band since the early to mid-90’s. In addition, sadly, last summer (before this album hit the shelf) Frigo passed away from an apparent drug overdose.
Even though I was a bit skeptical as to the “story” behind this record I figured the important thing was the music.
So is the album good?
I don’t think it quite holds up to the usual standard of the band. To be completely honest, Enuff Z’Nuff has never been the most original band on the scene but throughout their career, which now spans twelve albums, they have consistently written some great Beatles -influenced hard rock songs. To be fair, the album does have some quality songs to offer. The track “Home Tonight” is on par with some of the best Enuff Z’Nuff has done. The same can be said for “Help…” and “No Place Like Home”. These songs have the catchy hooks that the band is known for and after just one listen, you’ll have these songs stuck in your head for days! However, it is tracks like “Joni Woni” (Likes to Ride the Pony)” and “Hang on for Life” (which has the band trying to do its best Stone Temple Pilots impersonation!) that really lose me. It is this material that just ends up feeling like leftovers from a time when this lineup was still actively intact.
Bassist Chip Z’Nuff sings a couple songs on the record also, the aforementioned “Hang on for Life” and the album-opening track “Gorgeous.” I thought it a bit strange to have the lead track off the album (which usually sets the tone for a record) to be sung by Z’Nuff. His voice is adequate but why would you start an album off with this song?
I do want to point out that the track “How Are You?” is an absolutely beautiful stripped-down acoustic ballad that is perfectly executed by Vie. And the last track on the disc is a cover of the Queen classic “Stone Cold Crazy” which is admirably done by the band.
All in all, “?” is a little haphazard for my taste and far from an Enuff Z’Nuff classic. I recently saw the band in concert and they were playing as a 3-piece with longtime guitarist John Monoco singing lead. His vocal style is very close to that of Vie and it makes me wonder why he wasn’t featured on this record, as it would have been a greater representation of the band as they are.
- Donnie Vie – Vocals, Guitar & Piano
- Chip Z’Nuff – Bass, Guitar & Vocals
- Derek Frigo – Guitar
- Vic Foxx – Drums
- Ricky Parent – Drums
- San Francisco Fawkes – Drums
- Bruce Beckenfeld – Keyboards
- Gino Martino – Guitar
- Kim Bullard – Keyboards
- Jamie – Piano, Guitar
- Ashley Scott – Lead Guitar on “Stone Cold Crazy”
- Kenny Harke – Drums on “Stone Cold Crazy”
- Home Tonight
- No Place Like Home
- Hang On For Life
- Man With A Woman
- How Are You?
- Joni Woni (Likes To Ride The Pony)
- This Guy
- Stone Cold Crazy