REVIEW: ACE FREHLEY – “Spaceman”
It’s a fitting time for Ace Frehley to release a new solo album; 40 Years since his self-titled release in 1978, and also just as Kiss have announced that in 2019 they will take part in one more final tour. It’s been nice to see over the past few months. Ace reconnecting with Gene Simmons, who co-wrote two tracks on ‘Spaceman’, and also came up with the title. Who knows whether Ace will make a few surprise appearances on the farewell tour. It would definitely be nice to see. Along with Gene, long time drummer Anton Fig, who also appeared on Ace’s first solo record, plays the drums on ‘Spaceman’.
The album kicks off with an unmistakeable Gene bass riff in “Without You I’m Nothing”, the first of two tracks Gene co-wrote and played bass on. The driven, heavy sound makes for an exciting start to the album. With Ace’s lyrics seemingly reflecting as a homage to past loves. Leading into “Rockin With The Boys”, which Ace says he wrote back in the 70’s tells of life out on tour with Kiss back in the day, a straight up catchy rock track. “Your Wish is My Command”, is the second track to feature Gene, and it has a distinct feel of Kiss’s early tracks. “Firehouse” from Kiss’s debut album comes to mind. Starting with harmonised vocals, it has a real Kiss feel to it.
“Bronx Boy” is the grittiest track on the album. Its riffs have a ‘street’ feel to them. Quite fitting really, as the lyrics tell of Ace’s pre-Kiss days, running around the streets of New York, in the Ducky Boys gang. ‘Pursuit Of Rock n’ Roll’ continues the biographical nature of ‘Spaceman’ with shoutouts to Elvis, Chuck Berry, The Beatles and more. Also, with a distinct reminder of why we all got into rock/metal in the first place.
“I Wanna Go Back”, is the closest track to what you could define as a rock ballad on the album. Which makes sense, which after the first listen I found out was a cover of the pop original by Eddie Money and is the most catchy track on the album. “Mission To Mars” personally from my opinion is the weakest track on the album, perhaps the only track on the album which could be considered ‘filler’. “Off My Back”, comes in with a driving riff, which really drives the song, accompanied by another trademark Ace solo.
Ace rounds off Spaceman with the instrumental “Quantum Flux”. Much the same as his self-titled solo album of 1978 closed with the instrumental of Fractured Mirror and rounds off ‘Spaceman’ nicely.
‘Spaceman’ is a solid album, which fans of Ace Frehley will enjoy, and also those who Kiss’s early albums. Its an enjoyable straight up rock ‘n’ roll album. With plenty of catchy riffs and unmistakeable Ace solos for the listener to get their teeth into. Ace has been in the rock ‘n’ roll game for over 40 years now. Let’s hope that ‘Spaceman’, isn’t his final record. That classic Kiss reunion would be a welcome cherry on top to just further cement Ace as one of rock ‘n’ rolls greatest guitar heroes.