Released on September 15, 2009 (Bronx Born Records)
Chart Position #27
01. Foxy & Free
02. Outer Space
03. Pain In The Neck
04. Fox On The Run
05. Genghis Khan
06. Too Many Faces
07. Change The World
08. Space Bear
09. A Little Below The Angels
11. It’s A Great Life
12. Fractured Quantum
iTunes Bonus Track:
13. The Return Of Space Bear
Ace Frehley – vocals, guitar and bass
Anthony Esposito – bass (1,3,6,7,8,10)
Derrek Hawkins – rhythm guitar (2)
Scot Coogan – drums and background vocals (3,10)
Anton Fig – drums (1,2,3,5,6,7,8,9,11)
Marti Fredriksen – bass, keyboards and background vocals (4)
Brian Tichy – drums (4)
Pearl Aday – background vocals (5)
Kari Kimmel – background vocals (5)
Monique Frehley – background vocals (9)
Ashley Suppa – background vocals (9)
Danielle Ciccimarra – background vocals (9)
Dominique Ciccimarra – background vocals (9)
Produced by Ace Frehley. Track 4 produced by Marti Fredriksen.
Greetings Earthlings! Come aboard, it’s time to take a ‘Rocket Ride’ back to 1978…never mind, our captain, the one and only ‘Space’ Ace Frehley has decided to alter course and blast us beyond ‘Outer Space’ and ‘Into The Void’ of 2009 with his first solo album in 20 years, Anomaly. It will be unleashed upon Earth on September 15, 2009 via Ace‘s own Bronx Born Records. The release date is of great significance as it also marks the 3rd anniversary of Ace‘s sobriety. Strap in tight for this journey with Ace Frehley, it’s guaranteed to be a surreal one. Blast off in 5…4…3…2…1…
We have blast off as “Foxy & Free” begins with an explosive nitro-fueled riff sure to cause a genuine ‘Sonic Boom’ to your ear-hole. Within this cut it is abundantly clear that sobriety is a great thing for Ace, his singing and playing are better than ever. I really dig the chugging riff and trippy vocals that lead into the blistering solo. Next up is the first single released to radio and iTunes, “Outer Space”. While the cut wasn’t written by Ace, it fits him perfectly. It showcases some really nice fretwork and a chorus that sticks in your head, you can’t help but sing along to it. “Pain In The Neck” is a song many guys can sympathize with if ever scorned by the opposite sex. I know after the past month, I can! If it wasn’t for the fact he clearly references a woman in the lyrics, I’d have thought this song was an ode to former bandmates Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.
“Fox On The Run” is a cover of the famous song by Sweet. The original version is one of my all-time favorite tunes and Ace does it justice…and then some. He makes the song his without straying from its original spirit…well done! “Genghis Khan” is a six minute long adventure that begins with some gorgeous acoustic fretwork but quickly heads off into some really psychedelic territory. The track is mostly instrumental with the exception of a few vocal lines. It’s a cool track but I feel it would have faired better without the vocals and been left purely instrumental. Don’t skip it though because the playing is superb. “Too Many Faces” seems to be a song about some of the struggles Ace had put himself through over the years. It features another ‘classic’ Ace solo and is loaded with layers of various guitar licks. It isn’t a standout track but is good nonetheless.
“Change The World” is a hit in my opinion, too bad the music industry shot itself in the head years ago and radio sucks these days with a few exceptions, ala Eddie Trunk who is clearly a music lover and not a corporate puppet. It isn’t really that bad of a deal that the music industry pulled a Kurt Cobain because it gave the artists back their freedom, but it has allowed the market to be flooded by shit being put out by any idiot who can run a computer but couldn’t write a riff or a melody if their life depended on it. Back to the song, it is jam packed with melody, you can definitely hear the influence The Beatles had on Mr. Frehley. It is tastefully done playing all the way around and a great message, a hit song in my opinion. “Space Bear” is a hard driving riff heavy instrumental. While I am not usually a guy who digs instrumentals, I haven’t skipped over this track in the six listens I’ve given this album over the past two days. “A Little Below The Angels” is a good song on the ballad side of things. The track is dominated acoustically and tastefully done. It isn’t as memorable as “Change The World”, but does showcase some angelic harmonies and is clearly autobiographical. It has Ace looking back at his life, making amends and opening a better chapter on his life that began three years ago. The breakdown will well your eyes up if you have at least half a heart.
“Sister” is a ferocious rocker that should be great live with another classic Ace solo, albeit short. He leaves the egomaniacal wankfests to the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. “It’s A Great Life” is another autobiographically inspired song featuring more acoustic guitars. His acoustic playing has grown leaps and bounds since his appearance on MTV Unplugged. I kind of wonder if Ace would ever cut an album of all acoustic songs or take some of his past work and re-do them acoustically. I’d buy it! “Fractured Quantum’ is the fourth installment of his ‘Fractured’ franchise. It easily lives up to its predecessors with some more intricate acoustic fretwork along with what we have come to expect from this franchise…a showcase of his brilliance as a musician.
Whew! That was one helluva fun ride with a few thought provoking stops along the way. Those are always good for the soul. I feel this album features Ace at the top of his game, mentally, physically and musically. If his legacy is judged primarily on his 1978 solo album, then Anomaly does it justice and more. He clearly captured the feel and spirit of his 1978 solo album, but with a better attitude and a much clearer vision. He clearly is out to prove something and does it with this CD. This album cements why so many guitarists over the past 30 years proudly cite Ace Frehley as their main influence.
This album has it all…top notch production, done entirely in the digital realm without losing the spirit of the analog recording feel, memorable songs, and truly inspired playing from Ace and all involved. I also must give Ace major props for the CD and vinyl’s packaging, artwork and design, it is amazing! It is refreshing to see an artist give the fans so much more than just a batch of songs. Anomaly is a stellar album with stellar songs and musicianship, and then you throw in the artwork and packaging that harkens back to the days when artists gave you more bang for your buck. Beat that Doc McGee, Gene and Paul!
In closing… Ace is back and Anomaly tells us so!
acefrehley.com – www.myspace.com/acefrehley
Reviewed by Justin ‘Crash’ Crafton for Sleaze Roxx, September 2009.