Artist: Ace Frehley
Label: eOne Music
Reviewer: Rod Strachan
When word filters through from former KISS lead guitarist Ace Frehley that a new studio album is coming…..It is cause to get excited. In late 2017 Ace told various news sources he had co-written two tracks with former bandmate Gene Simmons and a new album was on the horizon.
Fast forward to October 2018 and the long agonising wait is over. The album titled “Spaceman” christened by Gene Simmons is a shout out to Ace’s original Solo Album released in the KISS moniker in 1978. It is hard to believe 40 years has past us all by already right? The opening chords are struck to the album with the Ace and Gene Simmons co-written “Without You I’m Nothing”. A stirring bass line from Gene gets this track into gear. Ace’s blistering mid-song solo blends beautifully into a well written song. A strong track to start off the album, one that performed live will be extremely well received.
Matt Starr hits off on the skins to introduce “Rockin’ with the Boys”. Simple lyrics and an unmistakable acoustic break down mid-track make this an instant Ace classic. “No need to worry, I’ll be home soon, Cause I’ m rockin’ with the boys!!!”.
The second of the Gene Simmons Co-writes hits us with track 3. “Your Wish Is My Command” hits us with an a’capella introduction. A title that Gene had been floating for years finally sees the light of day. A solid track that fits the album well, however for once playing the critic would have loved to see that a’capella dropped and Gene on guest lead vocals.
The lead-off single from the album hits us next “Bronx Boys”. Hits us square in the jaw that is! One of Ace’s hardest and heaviest riffs is an autobiographical look at his upbringing. A street boy from the hard streets of New York this song at 2 minutes 50 seconds run time will leave you wanting more insight into the gang life Ace once knew. The blistering solo featured in this track is a highlight of one of the strongest tracks on the album. “The Pursuit of Rock N Roll” reunites Ace with drummer Anton Fig. A classic Ace feel to it, this song pays homage to a ton of rock legends in the well-crafted lyrics. Showcased with a great riff that could whip a crowd into an Ace frenzy live!
The Billy Satellite written and Eddie Money classic cover song “I Wanna Go Back” is the next to hit the table. This look into Ace’s past in many ways is the perfect obligatory cover that we have come to expect from Ace’s solo albums. A really good choice in songs as it captures Ace’s look on his own past. One can only wonder what could have been with a look back and if he could do it all again? One of my favourite tracks!
Not a big fan of the continued Space themes but “Mission to Mars” is a solid track in its own right. The gravity pull of bass and electric guitars plus grand build up into the song itself make this an unknown force of a song that fits the album in the role of track 7 perfectly.
“Off My Back” again featuring Anton Fig ties in the last of the vocal tracks with a solid performance. The chord progression is similar to 2009’s release “Too Many Faces” from the Anomaly album in a slowed down tempo. A perfect sing along song aimed to those relationships we all had back in the day before we saw the light. The final frontier as we come to expect in the Ace solo album formula is the instrumental. “Quantum Flux” with it’s almost middle eastern sounding acoustics is the perfect end to this 37 minutes and 7
seconds of Ace Frehley wizardry. In a spectator sounding end something Sir George Martin would be proud of! The Spaceman has yet again delivered us a high quality product from start to end.
Now twelve years sober let’s hope the Ace is always in the deck continuing to liberate us with something we hold very close to our hearts! Our Pursuit of Rock ‘N Roll!