Enuff Z’nuff
Clowns Lounge
(Frontiers Music)

Throughout the 1980s, hair metal was a goldmine for a lot of groups. Simply squeezing into spandex and lacquering on the Aqua Net would make overnight stars of some remarkably mediocre bands. Unfortunately, it also scarred a number of other groups whose music had nothing in common with the vacuous cock rock, thanks to record labels forcing the ill-advised hair metal imagine on any band with more than one guitarist. Among those unfairly tagged with the “hair metal” moniker was Chicago’s Enuff Z’nuff. Yes, the name is a little regrettable, but throughout the ’80s and well beyond, they offered a fantastic updating of pop and psychedelic rock influences from bands like The Beatles, Cheap Trick and Badfinger.

Clowns Lounge, their 13th album and first in about six years, is a collection of early demos and rarities reworked by the band. The album is crammed with sharp pop hooks and strong, chugging guitars. Original singer Donnie Lee left the band a few years ago to deal with health problems and disillusioned by the music industry, so Chip Z’nuff took over at the mic on this one and does a stellar job. His vocals soar on songs like “She Makes it Harder” and “Rockabye Dreamland.” There are a few wanky guitar solos here and there, not helping the case that the band didn’t belong in the hair metal category, along with a guest cameo from Warrant’s Jani Lane, but overall a solid collection pop rock songs from a long underrated band.

Purchase Clowns Lounge here: iTunes | Amazon

3-stars

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1 Comment

  1. Stop using the term “hair metal” it’s derogatory toward bands that often had more talent than they got credit for. PLEASE call it glam metal if you feel you must label it as something other than 80s hard rock. It’s past time these bands were given their due and not identified by their hair.

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