Ace Frehley - Space Invader (SPV/Steamhammer)

A typically frustrating Ace offering...
Release Date: 
19 Aug 2014 (All day)

Ace is back! ACE IS BACK!! THE SPACE ACE IS IN THA HOUSE!! 

Damn, that made me feel better. Y’see, despite being very much a child (musically, at least) of the mid ta late eighties, former Kiss axe slinger Ace Frehley is one of my all time heroes, bar none, so to have his first solo work for five years in my paws made me very EXCITED indeed, as I’m sure y’all can understand! Okay Mr Frehley! To infinity and beyond! Let’s go!

Er, maybe not. I’m never gonna rag on the Space Ace entirely, that must be made quite clear, but, just as with his last album Anomaly, there’s much underwhelm to contend with on Space Invader. Much underwhelm indeed… Sure the GONZOID title track which kicks things off is a mighty fine slab o’hard rock, right outta Ace’s top drawer, but then the ol’ goon makes us wait another five tracks before coming up with anything interesting. That’s virtually half an album’s worth of filler which really ain’t cuttin’ anyone’s mustard, let alone one of the greatest guitar players of all time!

Still, you play with the cards you’re given (was that pun intened? - dubious Ed) and so we make the best of the good stuff that’s here – Immortal Pleasures is a fine piece of laid-back ROCKIN’, whilst the much heavier Inside the Vortex is exactly what we’ve been waitin’ for all this time. A real riff-totin’ monster, it’s the Ace absolutely back to his best. Why couldn’t we have had more of this?

What Every Girl Wants is a superb blend of British Glam and American SLEAZE, and it feature’s Ace’s best vocal of the album. Elsewhere he’s happy to slip into that lazy, disinterested, Stiv Bators-style talk singing, but here the man sounds ALIVE! And I gotst to talls ya, that makes all the difference. There’s a smokin’ solo on this song plus some subtle cowbell too! This is the stuff…

…But it’s also the high water mark of the album. What’s left slips back towards the file marked ‘average’. Semi-ballad Inside the Milky Way wants to be Wanted Dead or Alive but ends up way short, whilst Ace’s cover of Steve Miller’s classic rock chestnut The Joker just doesn’t work very well. On previous album Anomaly he rocked the SHIT outta Fox on the Run by The Sweet; On Space Invader The Joker is just, well, a bit shit. On paper the song should be right up Frehley’s alley, but there’s an intangible something missing from his reading of the song. Oh well…

This album ain’t the complete stinker MaF editor Scott Adams would have had me believe when he charged me with reviewin’ Space Invader, and there is one bona fide CLASSIC here in What Every Girl Wants, but at the end of the day this is probably one just best left to Ace completists.