Monday, April 29, 2013

Enuff Z'Nuff - AniMaLs WitH HUmAn InTElLiGeNcE (1993)

I first discovered Enuff Z'Nuff through mailorder catalogues through some music company (EMI?) through which I acquired "Strength". Alas, on cassette tape. This album I picked up much later for the kingly fee of $5 from Echo records.

Enuff Z'Nuff formed in 1984 and, amazingly, are still active today. They hail from Illinois and have released 12 studio albums, of which I am only familiar with the second and third. During that time their line-up has changed somewhat, with two memebrs dying - one of a drug overdose and the other of cancer. They began with a glam rock sound, which they mellowed into more of a rock style after the glam rock genre faded into obscurity.

This album was less succesful than its predecessor, and has one of the members - Vikki Fox, airbrushed out of the cover art, despite the fact he appears in every track, because he quit after it was produced. The cover features the three remaining members, all looking very curly haired and moody in blue tones. The back of the booklet shows an old style poster advertisement, featuring two horses - one firing a canon and the other posing beneath the stars and stripes. There are cute little banner cartoons above the lyrics for every song.

The album rocks in to "Superstitious". Good beats, vocals a low, smooth going into the occasional higher range. Nicely paced and catchy.

"Aieee-aieee-aieeee" the "Black Rain" begins. Beats like solid raindrops. Vocals undulate nicely with the rhythms.
"Pret-ty lit-tle sing-ing boy, just be-came a brand new toy..."
Taking on a more mournful, rock ballad feel, "Right By Your Side". Nicely emotive melodies. Vocalist Donnie Vie has a nice touch of angst in his voice, although it does tend somewhat towards the whiny.

"These Daze" starts with dogs barking, but is a cruisier number. Vie's vocals are lilting and raw, with a  touch of whine,  undulating with the rhythms, almost like the purr of a really large cat. This is a rock song about celebrating the wild years, but (presumably) setting them behind you.

A roucher, rawer, wilder number is the "Master of Pain". Heavier rifts. Harder sound. Solid beat. Catchy chorus.

"Innocence" is a sweet and soft song about growing up. It is about the loss of innocence, but
"who's to say it's right or wrong?"
And has good melodies and some nicely emotive guitar play. The lyrics are sensitive and almost reassuring. The lyrics indicate that it is about the loss of sexual innocence, to someone that "you" care for. More romantic than say, Helloween's "First Time". The piano adds nicely to the atmosphere.

Another ballad, "One Step Closer to You" is one of those unrequited love songs. Not creepy, just suggesting that the love interest is currently, technically, unobtainable. It has a faster rhythm, suggesting that this pursuit is not hopeless and that "I" am the better option:
"Every little move I make is getting you away from that loser..."
 There's a slight country-rock edge to "Bring it on Home". Vocals are low, smooth and relatively gentle. Bit rawer on the bridge to the chorus. Really rockin' chorus. Repetitive but catchy.

Another cruisy number - "Taking a Ride" is smooth and sunny. The music has a laid-back, restful vibe. The vocals getly rising and falling with the melody.

 With a  whistle and a chug, it's into the rock and roll of "The Love Train". Catchy and a good pace.

A heavier piece with a goodly touch of angst, "Mary Anne Lost Her Baby" is about abortion and regret:
"...Questions in your head: now the forties pass you by and there's still noone in bed, just a big fat lonely why. Spending life alone when you could have had the joys that make you carry on..."

Lastly, we conclude with a goodly rock number: "Rock N World".

Overall, this is a solid rock album - perhaps lacking some of the more interesting combinations and melodies of "Strength". It's an interesting listen and Vie's voice is strong, with a reasonable touch of angst and not too much whine. Not particularly remarkable and not earth-shatteringly original, however.

Rating = 6.5/10.

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