Spaceman Ace Frehley’s solid new album
Ace Frehley is back. Enough has been said and written about the feud with his former band colleagues Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction and Frehley’s past struggles with substance abuse. Let’s focus on the music. This comes in the form of his new album ‘Space Invader’, his first record in five years.
The album starts with the tile track ‘Space Invader’. The production is quite heavy; the song rocks with a good riff and has a memorable refrain. The following ‘Gimme A Feelin’’ is a rock’n’roll track with a Guns’n’Roses-feeling. ‘I Wanna Hold You’ sounds like a harder version of something I have heard before (Twisted Sister come to mind here) but is a good party song anyway.
So far so good. The first three songs groove and are fun. Clearly the guitar work is in the focus which is good to hear. Frehley doesn’t try to address a radio audience too obviously but instead stays true to his past work.
For the remainder of the album Ace Frehley can hold the pace and energy of the first three songs with only a few exemptions. Another cover version of Steve Miller’s ‘The Joker’ wasn’t really necessary. ‘Changes’ and ‘Immortal Pleasures’ drift into trivial elevator background music atmosphere. But the album has another few highlights with tracks like ‘Toys’ and ‘Inside The Vortex’ with their Led Zeppelin commemorative riffs. The 7-minute instrumental ‘Starship’ includes some more progressive parts and a cracking solo in the middle part. The song shows Frehley’s from a different side and is the most experimental one on ‘Space Invader’.
Ace Frehley can certainly defend any claims that his musicianship is not up to scratch with groovy riffs and intensive solos. His vocals lack behind his guitar work though. Die-hard fans will not be deterred by that but I guess it could be a deal-breaker for any potential new fans. Overall ‘Space Invader’ is a solid heavy rock album. If only he wouldn’t repeat his space-references over and over.