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The three things are guaranteed on every Ace Frehley solo album... an instrumental, a cover and that Ace sound/tone that we all love. With Spaceman, you get all those things. The big buzz around Spaceman is the creative reunion of Ace and Gene Simmons on tracks Without You I'm Nothing (with Gene on bass) and Your Wish Is My Command, and they don't disappoint. I was just as excited to hear Ace working with Anton Fig again. It just sounds "right" when Anton is playing with Ace. My biggest take away from Spacemen was the playing of Ace. He's on fire, and playing better than ever. Sonically, Spaceman is as close to his '78 solo album as he's gotten since then. 3, 2, 1... we have LIFTOFF. THE Spaceman is back.
This album continues with the same thick sound and growly vocals of all of Frehley's post-reunion albums. If you like that, you'll be happy with the production on this release. Ace Frehley is an idiosyncratic musician, and his trademarks are in evidence... simplistic lyrics that occasionally veer into the corny, a certain signature sloppiness to the playing... as a fan, you expect it and enjoy it. If not, he's never changing. The two tracks with Gene Simmons do not disappoint in the least, and the cover of Eddie Money's "I Wanna Go Back" is Ace's best yet, IMO. Really enjoying "Bronx Boy" and "Mission to Mars", but there is not a dud on the album.
Ace is at the top of his game and Spaceman might just be one of the best things he’s done snce his 1978 solo album. It really does recapture the classic sound the '78 solo. The whole album has a real laidback Frehley sound. Love the cover of "I Wanna Go Back". “Off My Back” may be my favorite. Ace is indeed back and he did tell you so
Halloween is my favorite season, not just because the leaves turn beautiful colors, not just because of all the candy, cool costumes, decorations in the yards, and nick knacks at the stores, but because Ace Frehley has been giving us treats in the form of new albums in October. And once again, listening to a new Ace album really made my day.
There's both a nostalgia factor and a newness factor at play every time he releases an album. Those of us who love his vocals and a little Velveeta goodness in our rock n' roll lyrics are always pleased. And while we always expect and always receive great guitar work, there's always enough ear perking "sweeeeet" new sounds and the occasional "more serious" songs to be found. The standout tracks both lyrically AND musically for those looking for more depth in both categories are: Without You I'm Nothing, Mission To Mars, Off My Back, and I Wanna Go Back. Ace has a knack for picking cover songs that fit him to a tee and putting his own signature stamp on them, and I Wanna Go Back is a perfect example. It's also a perfect pick for those of us who are older and wiser who wish we could turn back the clock. That track really hit home and made my ears perk up in agreement. I absolutely love Ace's rendition of it. It suits him AND a majority of his fans who've grown up with him. He also has a knack for writing new songs that feel like mini time specific autobiographies and science fiction. Off My Back is the autobiographical rough patch love song that has a real depth of emotion to it (and is easy to relate to for anybody who knows that relationships aren't always smooth sailing) and Mission To Mars is Ace's Spaceman song and it takes you back to the classic days of Ray Bradbury and old time radio sci-fi.
The other category of songs on this album are also pure Ace but are more of the arena rock style with unashamedly silly lyrics and catchy as an STD gang vocal choruses: Rockin' With The Boys, Your Wish Is My Command, Bronx Boy, and Pursuit Of Rock And Roll. Of those, Pursuit Of Rock And Roll and Bronx Boy are my faves and scream goofy but lovable Ace. The former is about the kind of music that he grew up with and lives for (me too) and the latter is a James Cagney fantasy autobiography of Ace's Bowery Boy style youth. It may be a "dumb" song to some, but IMO it's an instant Ace classic that could become a signature song for him in the way that "Rock Soldiers" is. Rockin' With The Boys is catchy as all get up and many have compared its story line to Peter's Beth. That's a fair assessment but musically they're nothing alike with Peter's being a wistful ballad and Ace's being a rousing and joyful arena rocker. Some people consider songs like those two too "cheesy", but for those of us who thrive on variety and who love us love stories and some cheese now and then, this one's a winner and I find myself singing along out loud with Rockin' With The Boys and smiling/laughing in a good way. Your Wish Is My Command screams Gene and has some nice pulsating bass. It's another silly chorus, goofy lyrics song that is catchy and just makes you feel good.
Most of the songs on this album have extra special musical moments (bridges/interludes) where the drum work stands out and Ace delivers some really nice frosting on top of the cake. The guitar work is fantastic throughout and once again is pure joy to the ears. Speaking of guitar, the latest Quantum instrumental track is another dreamy sequence filled with creative snippets that bring smiles.
Ace has been the hardest working member of KISS lately, putting out album after album and touring all over the place. His renewed love of making music is evident an extremely admirable. I'm very impressed with his output of late and always look forward to what he's going to bring us next. I'll be listening to this album over and over. Love it!
Ace is definitely on a creative high in recent years. I have to admit to being a bit underwhelmed when I first heard 'Rockin' With The Boys' prior to the release of Spaceman. I found it way too repetitive at first. It has since grown on me after repeated listens. The rest of Spaceman has been a pleasant surprise. Ace's version of I Wanna Go Back is really quite good. He seems to have a gift for turning covers into his own. Ace's version is less pop sounding and more of a slow paced rock tune. It really works well with Ace's limited vocal range. Mission to Mars and Off My Back are two other top tracks. Both tunes are straight up rock. They're full of goofy Kiss style lyrics and classic Ace style solos. The two Gene Simmons co-writes( Your Wish Is My Command and Without You I'm Nothing) are sadly a bit boring/lackluster to my ears. I was hoping for a classic Kiss sound but both songs sound like modern era tunes. I still think it's cool they took a shot and collaborated on new music in 2018. Bronx Boy and Pursuit Of Rock And Roll follow the same formula as Rockin' With The Boys. Not bad tunes , but not great either.
About the vinyl -
I purchased the silver vinyl with download card edition. The vinyl is very nice quality. I give the vinyl five stars. I also Love the cheesy album cover. Putting Ace back in his silver jumpsuit is hilarious and cool all at the same time. Rock on Spaceman.
WOW.....what a great album. Yes, I am a huge Ace fan all the way back from the 70's......but I don't worship every song/album he's ever done. But this one KILLS IT!!! It is stripped down/raw.....classic vibe to it. Guitars CRUNCH.....very nice mix on drums too. Every song rocks, last song is instrumental. Maybe some will knock it for lyrics or not a guitar virtuoso....but ACE is all over it!!! This could end up being my fave ACE album....though last few I enjoyed thoroughly too. But this one, all the songs hit the mark. And yes, I love Ace's voice, something about it. His first albums he did with Todd Howarth singing half the songs just didn't do for me....I was like, why doesn't Ace sing all the songs...Todd thanks for the effort, but I'd rather here Ace wing it. All these albums/cds he's put out in last few years sure outdo Kiss' output, Kiss's one so so so very mediocre album, Monster. Nice album Ace!!!
4.0 out of 5 starsKiss fans (and, indeed, hard rock fans in general) will find much to love in Spaceman.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 14, 2019
Without wishing to cast a shadow over any current member of Kiss, there’s no question that there’s something special about Ace ‘ Spaceman’ Frehley. His wonderfully dilapidated voice (part Keith Richards, part David Johansen) perfectly complements his no-nonsense riffing, and there’s no question that the band lost a part of their soul when they lost Ace. One thing is clear: of all the members of Kiss (past and present), Ace has been the most successful as a solo artist and, right from that very first solo album back in 1978, his fire has burnt the most brightly despite a highly publicised battle with alcoholism that is now, happily, some twelve years in the past. Ace’s renewed vigour has resulted in a purple patch of creativity and since 2009 Ace has released four solo albums, starting with the well-received Anomaly, running through space invader and Origins, vol. 1 and culminating in Spaceman, a nine-track collection which features guest contributions from Kiss alumni Gene Simmons, Eric Singer and Anton Fig, marking his best work to date.
Kicking off with the Simmons co-write without you I’m nothing, Ace delivers searing guitar by the skipful, his blazing tones set against Simmons’ typically monstrous bass sound. A kick-ass rock track more than worthy of the mothership in its heyday, without you I’m nothing benefits from Ace’s punkish vocal delivery (New York through and through), and comes to a pulse-pounding conclusion thanks to a rousing solo that shows those flashing fingers have lost none of their magic. Next up, the blistering single rockin’ with the boys proves an unrepentant counterpoint to the Criss classic Beth (Ace says he wrote the song back in the 70s), and there’s no question that, had the song been recorded at that time, it would be afforded classic Kiss status now. A hard rocking anthem for anyone who’s ever dreamed of life on the road, rockin’ with the boys encapsulates the spirit of the Spaceman in four perfect minutes. Simmons makes a return on the dark your wish is my command, a track which, it is said, Simmons originally intended for Kiss to record, and which melodically recalls plaster caster, a typically lascivious chorus bearing Gene’s paw prints no matter who’s behind the mic. A rather more autobiographical track, Bronx boy brings Ace’s pre-Kiss years vividly to life as he fires out licks like so many bullets, not to mention one his most potent vocal performances to date. It’s powerful stuff, harking back to those classic Kiss LPs of the 70s, and it does much to demonstrate that the space Ace is still a creative force with whom to be reckoned.
Kicking off the second half of the record, pursuit of rock ‘n’ roll plays out like the sequel to rock ‘n’ roll all nite, as Ace name-checks heroes such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones (“those bad boys set me free”) whilst the Eddie Money cover, I wanna go back , is the result of Ace catching the track on YouTube and identifying so personally with the lyric that he knew instantly that he had to cover it. A rather more trippy number, mission to Mars sees some of Ace’s most evocative guitar work giving way to a bristling riff that is utterly irresistible, and if you’re not hooked, then the bar-burning rock of off my back with its Steppenwolf vibe will certainly change that. It leaves only the six-minute instrumental, quantum flux, to bring the house down as Ace once more demonstrates why he is, and forever will be, the Spaceman. Moving from eerie, acoustic intro, via harmonised twin leads to a raucous conclusion, quantum flux is a far-out showcase of Ace’s undoubted abilities reminiscent of Satriani’s space-themed work. An impressive end to a short, tightly-plotted album, quantum flux may lack the rock ‘n’ roll immediacy of the other tracks on the record, but it certainly underscores Ace’s ability to spread his wings beyond the predictable.
With guest appearances from Simmons (who also suggested the title), Eric Singer and Anton Fig; not to mention some of Frehley’s best solo material yet; there’s a sense of redemption to Spaceman, as if the Space Ace has finally come to terms with his past as a rock ‘n’ roll hell-raiser, embracing it as a means to move forward as an artist once more. With songs that stand head to head with some of Kiss’ finest moments, there’s certainly no lack of inspiration on spaceman and there’s a spontaneity to the performances that is lacking in so much modern rock music. A fantastic summation of Ace’s myriad strengths, Kiss fans (and, indeed, hard rock fans in general) will find much to love in Spaceman.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 26, 2018
Aaah Ace Frehley what can you say , one of the most iconic faces on the planet and former guitarist in one of the greatest rock band s ever. Sadly he has never been able to shake of the shadow of KISS.
40 years after his stellar debut solo disc and some people still await a follow up album of equal quality,total waste of time,the fire that burned in that guy( legally or otherwise) has long since burned out.
I prefer to listen and enjoy what i can from each new release and its been a decent ride over the last decade,this album is no different a solid 3.5 stars,some classic tracks such as 'Rockin With The Boys' (should have opened the album) and 'Bronx Boy' whilst 'Mission to Mars' and 'Quantum Flux' show his guitar prowess.
The Kiss fans will immediately go for the Gene Simmons collaborations,truth be told they are decent nothing to shout (it out loud) about, 'I'm Nothing WIthout You' is a bit leaden footed to be an album opener,a mistake i think,while 'Your Wish Is My Command' could have been a Kiss classic back in the day.
The production suits the music,nothing too fancy,while Ace's vocals and song writing limited,its always been that way,it aint gonna change now oh and we get a crap cover version...'Off My Back'
If you love Ace you will have expected no more no less,its for Ace fans only,,casuals may not be brought onboard
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 23, 2019
Ace proves once again to be on top form returning with another fine album. Joined by former Kiss band mate Gene Simmons co-writer on two tracks, Without You I'm Nothing and Your Wish is My Command, the nostalgia driven Bronx Boy and I Wanna Go Back, the instrumental Quantum Flux. Ace is back Rockin' With The Boys as he continues his Pursuit of Rock and Roll and shows this is more than just a Mission to Mars. The Ace is back and he told you so.
5.0 out of 5 starsAbsolutely Ace.. another superb album or as Ace puts it..Abracadabra !
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 25, 2018
What can I say, apart from this is an excellent album, Ace is just so consistent, keep releasing new albums Ace and lets face it.. if you don't like the superb sleeve Cover Art work, you were never going to love the music. Buy this CD it is THE Classic Rock music CD of the year and is better than anything KISS have done for too many years, just enjoy...its ACE !