Ace Frehley: Anomaly (2009)

Ace Frehley Anomaly cover

–ACE FREHLEY: Anomaly (2009)

This is an exciting time to be a KISS fan. Between the October 6th release of Sonic Boom, the first new KISS studio album in 11 years, the band’s celebrated performance of the Alive album at Detroit’s soon-to-be-closing Cobo Hall, and their North American tour, fans of Simmons, Stanley & co. have plenty to be thankful for in these dark economic times.

But lets not leave the Space Ace out of the equation. No, not for a minute. For KISS’ original guitarist is back with his own solo album after a 20-year hiatus, and the master of the flaming sunburst Les Paul is back in a big way. I’ve always felt that Ace Frehley has been a bit of an unsung KISS member in terms of his songwriting skills, and the rock world doesn’t seem to pay enough heed to Ace’s unique skills on lead guitar. From his debut solo record in 1978 to his brand new Anomaly CD, released on his own Bronx Born Records on September 15th, Ace has always delivered solid, pounding hard rock with his distinctive New York flair. In terms of Ace Frehley records, Anomaly is far from an anomaly as far as quality hard rock goes.

On Anomaly, the Space Ace has left his once omnipresent demons behind him and focused his energy and creativity into writing strong and strikingly melodic songs. Ace has replaced his lifelong struggle with alcoholism with a newfound sense of serenity, and that is reflected both in the uplifting spirit of the music and in lyrics to songs like “A Little Below the Angels,” in which he proudly proclaims, “Alcohol was a friend of mine, it almost got me dead./ I crashed some cars got into fights, some things I now regret./ I’ve been told I’ve got nine lives, or maybe even ten./ Now I’ve changed my ways, my soul’s restored I’m better now than then.” Ace clearly feels like a reborn man, or at least a renewed soul, and it’s reflected in the optimistic mood of his lyrics.

The music runs the gamut from groove-heavy, crunchy-yet-catchy hard rockers (“Outer Space,” “Foxy & Free,” “Sister”) to Ace’s faithful cover of Sweet’s “Fox on the Run,” which includes some sweet underlying guitar arpeggios in the chorus. “Genghis Khan” is a quirky, mid-tempo mostly-instrumental that features acoustic guitar, a punchy bassline and a wonderfully catchy chorus. As much as Anomaly rocks, Ace’s acoustic-based tracks are also as memorable as they are inspirational. The spirit of altruism abounds in the semi-ballad “Change The World,” in which Ace “prays for peace” while crooning away in his trademark unique, half-sung/half-spoken mid-range vocals. My Gott, does it sound great to hear Ace’s soothing voice again! “A Little Below The Angels” is a touching and eloquent acoustic ballad, while the album-closing-instrumental “Fractured Quantum” employs gorgeous guitar arpeggios and melancholy melodies that evoke a rainy day or lonely, contemplative night.

Yes folks, the Space Ace has returned to rock our worlds with Anomaly. The CD is perfect for a hard-rocking party, cranking loud in the car stereo or simply relaxing quietly after work with a cold beer and Pez dispenser in hand. Welcome back to the New York Groove, Ace!

P.S. The album packaging includes a line of tribute to Ace’s friends, the late (KISS drummer) Eric Carr and “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott of Pantera.

–Tracklisting: 1.) Foxy & Free 2.) Outer Space 3.) Pain in the Neck 4.) Fox on the Run 5.) Genghis Khan 6.) Too Many Faces 7.) Change the World 8.) Space Bear 9.) A Little Below The Angels 10.) Sister 11.) It’s A Great Life 12.) Fractured Quantum

~ by jonnyboyrocker on September 30, 2009.

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