Vie, Donnie - 2003 Just Enough..

ARTIST: Vie, Donnie
ALBUM: Just Enough..
LABEL: Livewire Records (Sweden)
YEAR: 2003

LINEUP: Donnie Vie - vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards * Andrew Rollins - guitars, keyboards, backing vocals, digital editing * Byron Gaither - keyboards * Rick The Bass Player - bass * Rosas - bass * Chip Z'Nuff - bass * Troy Farrel - drums

TRACK LISTING: Spider Web * 02 Better Days * 03 Forever * 04 Jesus In Drag * 05 Wintergreen Eyes * 06 I'll Go On * 07 Alice In A Jam * 08 Don't Bring Me Down * 09 That's What Love Is * 10 Maddaline (US only) * 11 Blowin' Kisses in the Wind * 12 Wasting Time * 13 Yes-terDay (bonus track)


I've admired Enuff Z'nuff for years now. Their first album is a classic, 'Strength' still sounds like a more than worthy follow-up and 'Animals With Human Intelligence' has aged remarkably well.

Despite their more recent works having moments of greatness, I'm constantly left with the feeling that the band write half an album of new material each time and then flesh it out with unreleased archive material (I defy anyone to tell me 'There Goes My Heart' from 'Ten' isn't a left-over track from either the old '1985/Peach Fuzz' demos, or from the debut sessions).

At least 'Just Enough..', Donnie's solo debut doesn't pretend in that department, clearly stating on the sleeve that this collection of songs was written and recorded between 1997-2003.

The Songs

'Spider Web', 'Better Days' and 'Jesus In Drag' on the surface sound like pieces fuelled by the old Z'nuff-ism we've all come to admire. However, I had a nagging feeling that something here was falling short of the mark. The overall sound is present, but the magic hooks seem a little lacking.

The jaunty feel of 'Alice In A Jam' and the Lennon-esque 'Don't Bring Me Down' both fare a little better, with Donnie's curly vocal stylings in full effect, but like most of the material here, suffers from a very hollow sound, particularly in the drum department.

Speaking of drum machines, don't even get me started on the particularly nasty calypso edged 'Blowin' Kisses In The Wind', all songs which sound like 'Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da' bring me out in a rash, and as much as I love Donnie's style, this one is no exception.

The two ballads, 'Forever' and 'Wasting Time' are far and away the best tracks on offer here. Their altogether sparser arrangements make the overall sound slightly less grating. Yes, it's definitely the sound of this album which is the main problem. It's little more than a collection of demos which sounds like they were found in a biscuit tin. Even on a clearly limited budget, I'm sure you'll agree, we all expect something which sounds, at least, a little more finished from Mr Vie.

It pains me to dish out such harsh words to a once great artist, but being completely honest, 'Just Enough..' may as well have been called 'Bare Minimum'. If it were a school report, I'm sure it would say 'While we appreciate young Donald's natural feel and ear for melody, this term's work does not reach the heights we all know he is capable of reaching. Can do better?'

In Summary

Writing this review is like putting me in the electric chair. Before you give the word to flip the switch, can I listen to Cheap Trick 'In Color' one last time?

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