My earliest recollection of music is listening to the 1978 Gene Simmons solo 8-track, and from that moment, I was a KISS fan. I never saw the original lineup of KISS perform, which I list as one of the things in life I wish I had done. Of course, I was in second grade the last time they played in my area (on the Dynasty tour) and when they did the Psycho Circus tour, I refused to pay their ticket prices.
That all said, KISS guitarist Ace Frehley has released a solo CD called Anomaly. It is a good CD and rather regularly, I put it in my player. The trio of "Foxy & Free," "Outer Space," and "Pain In The Neck" kick off the release with the type of rock ‘n’ roll you'd expect from Frehley. There are a lot of good riffs and his guitar work is scorching. I like the off-time section during "Pain In The Neck" where the backbeat isn't on 2 and 4. Then comes the unnecessary cover of "Fox On The Run" – never liked the original and the cover, while played adequately, doesn't make me a fan. I routinely skip it.
That's because I'd rather get to the all-out jam "Genghis Khan" and the musical stretching that Frehley does to make this song a gem. Starting with a mellow guitar opening, a rougher riff is then introduced. Drummer Anton Fig comes in with a solid groove that continues the song for a bit before Frehley contributes a solo that mesmorizes me with each listen. The lyrics are not really necessary – "So long Genghis Khan / Now you're gone / So long" – and if Frehley would have made this an instrumental, I would have been happier. Still, this is the gem on the release.
The other must-hear songs on this release are "Change The World" and "A Little Below The Angels." Both of these songs are Frehley at his best. The music is straightforward, but lyrically, "Change The World" is inspirational: "Nothing happens if you don't try / When nothing happens, that's the reason why / When I woke up today / I thought I could change the world. . . / The time is right / We got to put up a fight and bring about some changes," Frehley sings during the course of this song, which sets up his brief guitar solo. "A Little Below The Angels" is a confrontation with Frehley's past, referring to the car crash that he wrote about in the Frehley's Comets song: "Alcohol was a friend of mine / That almost got me dead / I crashed some cars / Got into fights / some things I now regret… I've changed my ways / My soul's now restored / I'm better now than then."
I do not like the phrase "comeback album" because rarely has the artist that is making their 'comeback' been away. In Frehley's case, this is his follow up to Trouble Walkin', which was released October 13, 1989. Yes, he did the KISS reunion, but it’s been 20 years since we’ve had a solo release from him. Welcome back, Ace. Don't make us wait until 2029 for the follow-up!
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