Ok, Ace fans. In the 21 Century, Ace has reclaimed his title of geetar god, and had proven himself (finally!) as a album recording artist. 2009’s Anomaly was a fine return to form for a guy who shredded on all of Kiss’ earliest records, and found himself solo success back in 1978. The 80s and 90s were a tough haul for Ace, playing in his own band (Frehley’s Comet) to varying degrees of success. He also found himself battling alcohol and drugs periodically throughout most of those decades. However, the over the last 7 years (being 7 years sober is no coincidence, I suspect) he has focussed on creating some great new music. Anomaly was a shock to fans and critics alike, as EVERYONE liked it. It sounded very Ace-like (meaning, very 70s-era Kiss, which ain’t a bad thing), and it really looked like he was enjoying himself.

Now, 5 years later we have Space Invader (out August 19 on eOne Music). While I have to roll my eyes a little bit at the ridiculous number of “space” references here (yes, Space Ace, we know you’re an alien), the album grooves and rocks along at quite a clip. This is the guy who was always the joker in Kiss (much to the other guys’ dismay, and to his own detriment) so you have to look at this album and think of it in a tongue-in-cheek, smile-and-a-wink way. Space Invader, Inside The Vortex (Into the Void, anyone), Starship, and Past the Milky Way all beat the space-theme to death a little bit, but they are all excellent songs, so screw it. I was curious to hear his cover of Steve Miller’s The Joker, wondering how it fit into the whole thing…until I remembered the first line: “Some people call me a space cowboy…”. Ya.

Once we get back to earth, the album sounds like a great mix of now and then. It’s 70s style with 21st Century production, which is crisp and clean with a dose of sleaze. What Every Girl Wants, with its awesome doo-wop backing vocal is something Gene Simmons would have come up with. However, with Ace singing it, it sounds less sleazy and more amusing. It’s a singalong song with some dazzling guitar solos, and just might be my fave track from the album. Inside The Vortex sounds the closest to Kiss’s more recent material, sludgy and tough, which shows me that these guys are still running the same race, just on different lanes.

Space Invader isn’t going to take over the world, but I’ll bet it will sell really well. Good luck, Mr. Frehley, you’ve created another kick-ass rock album.

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