Ok, so let's admit it at the start - I've never been a fan of Kiss or really listened to any of the solo output. Thus, I come at this from my snobby little corner of the musical universe where hearing that Ace Frehley's Solo album from as long ago as 2009 is being re-issued in a deluxe edition doesn't exactly excite me.
The artwork, of course, is every bit as cool as Kiss. The graphic kind of cover that is perfect for the music within and that for the first three songs were more or less background music. Yes, it's all well played and produced but just what I'd expect - formulaic, if really good hard rock/metal.
Then, finally, things get going with as decent version of Fox On The Run: a much-covered classic and Ace does a damn good job on it, so it'll sound great in a rock club.
Sadly, Genghis Khan isn't a cover of the Nico classic but instead an epic neo-prog rock odyssey with backwards guitar sounds effects drenched vocals and a mammoth guitar solo, I hope it has a suitably over the top video to go with it. I concede it's probably the one song you need to hear from the album.
Well at least Too Many Faces is honest as he thinks the crowds at his gigs are far too big and they are all looking at him. Oh what a surprise for an arena performer! Change The World? Does he really think he could change the world today? Really nice sentiments and thankfully peaceful intent an' all, but it will take more than this middling bland song that in places is almost straying into Cat Stevens territory to that make it worth hearing a few times.
The album retreats into background music for me thereafter. There's some stellar guitar work but noting to grab at my ears, though I'm guessing the legion of fans that eat this stuff up will be very happy with what they are hearing. More honest plodding as he tells us he can't change his ways. Yep, the lyrics for Sister are as predictable as I'd expect as Ace does what he says on the tin, so to speak.
It's A Great Life is another over-earnest song about not weakening, which sounds a lot like the wry Mickey taking that Jon Tiven and Steven Kallinich do so well in their Yo Ma Ma incarnation. Unfortunately, I have the feeling Ace isn't so tongue in cheek.
Fractured Quantum sounds like a soundtrack bed made to go with some visuals but it really is a wallpaper. By the time the next few songs fly by, I am certain that Ace really is a Pain In The Neck as the slower version is one of the bonus songs. It had been to my ears as nothing but by the numbers rock workouts that sound dated, but at least this made me listen again.
Then Return Of the Space Bear is just a really fun slice of cartoon horror rock that (let's face it) he is an absolute ace at, so it sounds cool and better than most of the stuff on the actual album. It's certainly one of the reasons I guess the fans who already have the album will go for this deluxe package.
If you're a member of the Kiss army I guess you'll really like this album. For everyone else take a listen to Genghis Kahn and the cover of Fox On The Run and (yes!) Return Of The Space Bear.
Find out more at Ace Frehley Online
SPV Records Online