Enuff Z'Nuff

Spitfire Records, 1997

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Seven, the appropriately-titled seventh release from Chicago's own Enuff Z'Nuff, is a disc which confuses me.

Oh, it's not that Chip Z'Nuff and crew miss the target with this disc. If anything, having the freedom from a major label at the time seemed to allow the band a kind of creative independence that they might not otherwise have enjoyed. This means that the harder rock aspect of this disc is turned down (though not completely off), and Z'Nuff and guitarist/singer Donnie Vie are allowed to focus on the song, not the hit single. It's an interesting concept, though it's one that takes a little time for the listener to warm up to.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Make no mistake, this is still Enuff Z'Nuff as their long-time fans will remember them - though the Beatles influence has never been stronger than it was on this album. "Wheels" sounds like it could well be Enuff Z'Nuff's "Strawberry Fields Forever," thanks to the mellotron-like sounds in the chorus and the harmony vocals. Likewise, "L.A. Burning," a combination of an indictment of the riots in Los Angeles around that time with King's X-like harmonies, is a powerful piece of music that sticks with you.

What is striking about Seven is that much of the music seems to have roots in acoustic guitar. Oh, sure, there's plenty of electric guitar work (and lots of room for guitarist John Monaco to show his skills), but one gets the feeling that this disc could have easily been just Vie and Z'Nuff on dual vocals and acoustic guitar and bass, respectively. "Clown On The Town," "It's No Good" and "Still Have Tonight" are but three examples of this. ("Still Have Tonight" is another example in Enuff Z'Nuff's career of a song that could well have been a hit single - that is, if radio had been willing to give these guys a fighting chance.)

I freely admit that I like the harder edge to Enuff Z'Nuff's music, and that it took me a listen or two to get used to the acoustical edge that Seven highlights. But this disc turns out to be a solid, if occasionally confusing, effort that marked a return to form following the historical piece that was Peach Fuzz. And while this disc doesn't quite match up to the masterpiece that was Tweaked, it's still a nice disc in it own regards.

Rating: B

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© 2001 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 Spitfire Records, and is used for informational purposes only.