The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world





AUGUST 19 2014



Even the title suggests some sort of anachronism and that is a huge part of the Frehley charm – tied up as it is in Kiss’ formative years; Frehley was always the one that wasn’t meant to succeed but did, the member of Kiss that was meant to play second fiddle to Simmons and Stanley yet somehow always stole the show. A man who certainly had his flaws, but also exuded a huge amount of charm Frehley left Kiss in the 1980’s to set off on a suitably ramshackle solo career which started off with a bang but only ever delivered in those early years in fits and starts as the man continued to battle his demons.  


2014 sees a new deal with eOne Music and a new album in ‘Space Invader’ and the best thing you realise listening to the title track which opens is that this could well be a track from Frehley’s legendary 1978 solo album. Despite or maybe because of all the space-age technology available, Ace you see is still stuck in a time warp, and if I’m honest that’s the best thing about this album. ‘Gimme A Feelin’’ that follows has that trademark bombastic riff, a rough but charming vocal and slightly awkward lyrics that were always a huge part of Frehley’s boyish charm. When you add to that a ‘could only be Ace’ solo it’s a track that’s ‘perfectly imperfect’ like all of Ace’s best numbers.


‘I Wanna Hold You’ is similarly, spectacularly anachronistic with all the Ace hallmarks on display, whilst ‘Change’ has a vaguely Zepplinesque riff  and a more laid back approach, but still that insistently ‘Ace’ wail in the solo. There’s a definite early Kiss vibe to ‘Toys’ which will hit the right spot with everyone; and the self-mythologising ‘Immortal Pleasures’ is a nicely rounded song whose lyric-driven thrust gives way to the spacier ‘Inside the Vortex’. It’s around this point that you come to realise that there are no mis-steps here. This is the Ace album that sound most like the man than any he’s put out maybe since that first step in 1978.      


The teethy riff of ‘What Every Girl Wants’ gives way to a chugging rocker that is perfect ‘Ace’ with some Kiss-like background vocals backing up his distinctive double-pronged wail and solo attack; ‘Past the Milky Way’ takes on epic proportions with some very satisfying lead guitar driving a song with a dream-like refrain that sticks like glue.


I guess with a reputation like Ace’s the choice of the Steve Miller standard ‘The Joker’ is as much about the title as it is the song, but his rendition is more striking and faithful than you might imagining, taking the essence of the song as sacrosanct and yet adding a nice Frehley sheen. ‘Starship’ the closing track is that epic instrumental that most listeners would surely have been hoping for it’s a Frehley classic composition but not quite as other worldly as you might expect grounded in bass and riffage before the lead takes flight about three minutes in from their it kicks up a few gears.


If you are a fan of Ace, or even used to paint your face like his as a kid (as this reviewer may well have done) this may well be the second best album this particular extra-terrestrial has put his name to. Recommended.    



by Mark Diggins