Space Invader
(Steamhammer Records / SPV)

Finally, Ace is back! August 15th will mark the return of the original Spaceman. With or without the make-up, the fancy costume and platform boots, the Space Ace is making no prisoners in 2014. There are almost no weak moments to register on his latest output “Space Invader”. After the really good comeback album “Anomaly” in 2009, Mr. Frehley was able to outnumbering himself on “Space Invader”. This new one is much more focused and guitar orientated, than his previous album. Which shouldn’t mean, that “Anomaly” is a weak album. No way… not at all!!! Maybe the 2009 album was more of an identification / therapy process for Mr. Frehley, while “Space Invader” is much more sounding all of a piece. The new songs don’t sound written over a longer period or fragmented at all. Instead of that, all of them are sounding fresh, current and with no dust on. No recycling or leftover material in action this time, as far as I know. You can follow and keep up with the red line much easier here. Also, Ace is showing his guitar skills more often again. The smokin’ guitar hero of the 70s is back and persuades massively with great lead and heavy rhythm guitar work. All of the guitar solos on “Space Invader” are extraordinary fantastic. Mr. Frehley definitely has cultivated his very own guitar style and tone. Outstanding! May his previous band mates in KISS continue telling shit about the Spaceman. It is obvious to hear on “Space Invader”, that a clean mind and body was forging this great piece of heavy steel. It also makes the impression to the listener, that Ace closed the KISS chapter for himself and is working in his prefered space velocity. Seems like, he is fully living his own creative freedom and work ethics now. You can hear this positive vibe on “Space Invader” from the beginning till the end. This is heavy duty Rock’n’Roll music with rough edges, the right attitude, true fun and lust for life. The production is heavy, raw and crystal clear. Indeed, really suitable for that kind of Rock’n’Roll music. It becomes quickly obvious, that Ace doesn’t have to hide himself behind his former band mates with this excellent new album. A very cool move of Ace on “Space Invader” is that he joined forces with Ken Kelly again, who was also responsible for KISS’ legendary “Destroyer” and “Love Gun” cover artworks. For “Space Invader” Ken Kelly provided the Space Ace with a 50s / 60s B-movie style science fiction art work. Not bad. But a little bit cheesy to be honest. I still prefer the “Anomaly” cover art work more. Anyway, the only “real” weak point (in my opinion) on “Space Invader” is the cover song. This time Ace is unnecessarily covering ‘The Joker’, by THE STEVE MILLER BAND. This one is still tolerable. But that’s it. Far, far away from Ace’s previous superb covers like ‘New York Groove’ by HELLO, ‘2,000 Man’ by THE ROLLING STONES or ‘Do Ya’ by ELO. Maybe the record company is speculating to repeat a chart success à la ‘New York Groove’ from 1978 with another cover tune again? So who really knows? Instead of covering someone else’s song, Mr. Frehley should rely some more on his own skills and musicianship. What I also miss a bit on “Space Invader” are faster / up-tempo songs. In the past, Ace had a few of them like on his 1989 “Trouble Walkin’” album (for example), when he was working together with his partner Mr. Richie Scarlet. Maybe, Ace should think about a cooperating with Richie somewhere in the future again? Some faster stuff would be suiting well on “Space Invader” too. But anyway, this is just bitching at a high level. Call it “nitpicking”. Please, just feel free. Ok, let’s summarize. “Space Invader” is an absolutely worthy Ace Frehley solo album, which is offering a continuous high or very high quality level. I’m very positively surprised. This new one makes even more hungry for further Ace albums and concerts. Both thumbs up for the real Spaceman. For sure another soon to be classic album! Please make sure to buy “Space Invader” in a physical format (the real deal) at your local record store soon. Because it rocks really hard! \m/,,

Marc Lehmann

Marc Lehmann

Related reviews / interviews:
ACE FREHLEY - Origins Vol.2 (Randolph Whateley)
ACE FREHLEY - Spaceman (Frank Stöver)
ACE FREHLEY - Anomaly Deluxe (Marc Lehmann)
ACE FREHLEY - Origins Vol.1 (Frank Stöver)

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