CD Review of Just Enough! by Donnie Vie

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Just Enough!
starstarstarhalf starno star Label: Universal
Released: 2006
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Enuff Z’Nuff were always the hair metal band it was okay to like; despite trying to glam their image so that they looked like they’d just come from a rummage sale at C.C. DeVille’s place, they weren’t afraid to talk up their love of power pop. Seventeen years after their self-titled debut, the band continues to release new material and tour it for all they’re worth, but that hasn’t stopped the band’s lead singer, Donnie Vie, from taking the time to release a solo album.

Just Enough – I’ll pause while you admire the pun – was actually recorded in 2003 and saw limited independent release in 2004, but Universal Records has opted to reissue it through their digital subsidiary, UMe Digital, and make it available for download through iTunes. Longtime fans of the band will no doubt be psyched at the news…as well they should be, since the material here is easily up to the standards of Vie’s band’s usual work, but here’s probably the least shocking spoiler you’ll read today: the album sounds a lot like Enuff Z’Nuff.

Seriously, though, what would you expect? Vie’s the band’s lead singer. I mean, it’s not like you’re blindsided when you spin an Ian McCulloch album and discover that, damn, it sounds just like Echo and the Bunnymen. In the case of Just Enough, Vie hasn’t made any real attempt to escape from the Enuff Z’Nuff sound; perhaps it’s a bit more overtly poppy from start to finish, but even that aspect isn’t coming out of left field, given that Enuff Z’Nuff hasn’t gone out of their way to embrace a metal sound since 1993’s Animals with Human Intelligence.

Though Vie’s vocal stylings are more reminiscent of John Lennon, “Blowin’ Kisses in the Wind” is perhaps the most blatant ‘70s-era Paul McCartney homage anyone’s released since Emmit Rhodes stopped recording; although you’ll be reminded slightly of “Another Day” at times, it doesn’t really steal from it as much as take inspiration from it. The acoustic ballads “Wasting Time” and “That’s What Love Is” are nice, but it’s the upbeat pop stuff that maintains the listener’s interest. “Forever” and “I’ll Go On” have an ELO feel to them, “Better Days” is almost folky, and “Alice in a Jam” is almost like a new track from the Dukes of Stratosphear.

It’d be nice to think that Vie can, with this album, finally help the world at large pick up on the fact that Enuff Z’Nuff are more than just the guys who used to tour with Warrant, Quiet Riot, and Poison, and that – who knew? - he’s actually a really good pop songwriter. It probably won’t happen, but we can dream, can’t we?

~Will Harris