Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Album Review: ACE FREHLEY

Bronx Born Records

Ace Frehley is an icon, and an original member of one of the greatest rock and roll bands in American history. While he's never been hailed as one of the greatest guitarists to ever finger a pick, whatever he's lacked in mechanics he's always made up for in style. Unfortunately, that signature style isn't enough to carry his fourth solo release, "Anomaly."

The highlight of the album is a cover of Sweet's glam rock classic "Fox on the Run," a well-oiled romp that wraps the spirit of the original in Frehley's trademark swagger. Problem is, the swagger stops there, at the fourth track. "Foxy and Free" starts the album strong, a contemporary crunch saddling Space Ace's effect-laden vocals. It sucks you in, And "Outer Space" keeps you there with a like-minded bullish charge that plays up to Frehley's KISS persona. But "Pain in the Neck" leaves you missing the collaborative efforts of KISS, and "Ghengis Khan" - while featuring some adept guitar play - takes us out of the Sweet cover with a limp that just never recovers, the album proceeding in dire need of polish.

If you flip the melodic charm of "Too Many Faces" with the lyrically-challenged "Pain in the Neck," then keep closer "Fractured Quantum" - the quintessential return to Frehley's '78 solo debut's "Fractured Mirror" - the album would make a formidable five-track EP. But you can't hide from the lumbering ballads "Change the World" and "A Little Below the Angels," the instrumental "Space Bear" just ambles along aimlessly, and even though "Sister" and "It's a Great Life" leave their mark musically, the lyrics are a distraction.

Worth noting is the CD packaging, which folds out into an impressive 3-D prism, a nice touch in this day and age of stale digital music delivery. Overall, Frehley fanatics will find more than enough to get giddy over, and a few of the tracks should make a nice addition to a solo show, but "Anomaly" falls short of the mark as an album. In poker terms? It's like being dealt pocket Aces, then a flop that makes you want to cringe.

RATING: * * *

Ace Frehley Official Website

Ace Frehley MySpace

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