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Ace Frehley - 'Spaceman' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/07/7f/db/ace-frehley-spaceman-27-1557860928.jpg Hot

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A solid sounding record with a no-frills approach.

You'd have to have been living in a cave for the past forty years if you weren't aware of the name Ace Frehley. Of course, he's best known as the iconic lead guitarist of KISS in their seventies blood and thunder glory, but also as a solo artist of some note as well.

This new release comes off the back of his successful 'Origins Vol. 1', an album that saw him join forces with his ex-KISS bandmate Paul Stanley, but on this album, it's Gene Simmons that's come along to lend Frehley a helping hand. It would be fair to say that Frehley has never been an innovator, but without a shred of doubt, he's been a real influence on an entire generation of guitar players with his uncompromising yet totally recognisable style.

This release seems, on the face of it, to be a little autobiographical with Frehley taking a look back at his time in KISS ('Rockin' With The Boys'), his early upbringing ('Bronx Boy') and (I'm guessing somewhat here) a little regret for past misdemeanours ('I Wanna Go Back'). There's also a Simmons co-written song, 'Without You I'm Nothing', which well and truly rocks. On 'Your Wish Is My Command', Simmons actually takes on the bass duties too, something that maybe opens the door to a possible reunion (one can but dream!). I would go as far as to say that this is Frehley's most cohesive solo release since his classic 1978 self-titled solo debut.

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In keeping with the seventies solo theme, this record also finishes with an extended instrumental piece entitled 'Quantum Flux', a track very much in the vein of 'Fractured Mirror' from the aforementioned self-titled album. There seems to be a vitality and urgency about the whole thing. Of course, the vocals are very much "Frehley" in that they are spoken rather than sung, but that was always his charm and it gives everything a bit of an edge.

Production-wise, this is a solid sounding record with a no-frills approach which is to be expected with Ace Frehley. The cover has him looking resplendent in a silver cat jumpsuit, and to all intents and purposes, looking like a real space cadet!

One thing's for sure, this album is never going to win any awards for originality, but it does seem as if we've got him back on some kind of form and that can only be a good thing.

Malcolm Smith

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