Strength

Enuff Z'Nuff

Atco Records, 1991

http://www.enuffznuff.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/06/2000

Enuff Z'Nuff is a band that remains a paradox to me -- which is one reason why I've been spending a lot of time listening to their discography in the order of release. (Memo to the band's publicist: That's why you haven't seen the reviews of the re-issues... but they are coming!) And yet the more I listen to Strength, the band's 1991 sophomore effort, the more I get confused.

On one hand, you have Chip Z'Nuff and crew putting forth a solid effort that abandons the few silly concepts that they tried out on their debut release. But this disc also seems to feature the band taking a turn towards more serious music fare -- and the results can get a little spotty at times.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

There's enough material on this disc to let you know that the group hasn't forgotten how to turn up the amps to 11 and rock out until the plaster falls off of your ceiling. Tracks like "Heaven Or Hell," "The World Is A Gutter," and the slightly slower "Holly Wood Ya" show how far the band has come since Enuff Z'Nuff hit the stands.

But more often than not, Enuff Z'Nuff seems to stray into music that is less flash and more substance on Strength. Tracks like "Mother's Eyes," "Blue Island," "In Crowd" and "Baby Loves You" work well in this fashion, proving that there was much more to this group than the hair styles of the day.

Ah -- but there are occasional craters. "Strength" gets weighed down a little too much in the arrangements, including a violin solo from Johnny Frigo (father of guitarist Derek Frigo). Likewise, "Time To Let You Go" seems like too slow of a way to end an album that had so much power and promise.

What's interesting is that Strength, in overall approach alone, is a stronger album than Enuff Z'Nuff was, but it's pooh-poohed by many people because it doesn't have an instantly recognizable song like "Fly High Michelle." Well, tough. Strength is the kind of album that you really have to spend a lot of time with in order to appreciate how far Z'Nuff had come in just one album, even though the journey was still very much a work in progress. I know that each time I've listened to this disc (and it's been about 10 times in the last month), I find new things to like about it.

Strength is a suitable title for this album, as Enuff Z'Nuff began to really find where theirs lay music-wise. It's not a perfect album, but it's a natural next step for the group.

Rating: B+

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© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Atco Records, and is used for informational purposes only.