Ace Frehley | Space Invader (eOne Metal)

cd Ace-FrehleyThere is no substitute for the Spaceman’s dangerous playing and subpar singing.

To be clear, Ace Frehley is my favorite guitarist and KISS is my favorite band. To top it off, I’d never have touched a Gibson Les Paul before Frehley crept in. I wanted this review to be honest and fair; I didn’t want to be a fanboy and I didn’t want to be Joe Buck broadcasting the Cardinals on national TV…so I’m going to do the best I can.

This is Frehley’s first record since 2009’s Anomaly, and it exceeds its predecessor in nearly every appreciable way. The album is based around a single concept: Frehley, not Tommy Thayer, is the honest-to-god Spaceman. Many of the songs involve spatial imagery and metaphors, some personal and some just silly. Frehley’s brand of juvenile rock lyrics never fails to evoke some winces. (He can really nail the lyrics to a tune about two or three times in a decade.)

Musically speaking, Frehley played all of the guitars and the vast majority of the bass guitars, and handled basically all of the vocals. This is pretty close to a true solo album. The guitars are great. The trademark Frehley bends, “pinched” harmonics, and vibrato are all there. It’s as if he refocused, found the best of his career, and channeled it all into 45 minutes of rock. There are blazing solos, Frehley’s “trademark” vocals, and even acoustic guitars.

Upon first listen, I wanted to be cynical and hate the album. Frehley’s vocals are uneven, and the record is more of the same. I came up with every single complaint that every person who hates KISS has said, but I always loved Frehley, KISS, and others in spite of that. Space Invader has its flaws, as does Frehley, but there is no substitute for the Spaceman’s dangerous playing and subpar singing. | Nik Cameron

Verdict: Buy this album.

RIYL: KISS, Frehley’s Comet, Union, Vinnie Vincent Invasion

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