archive : A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Cover Art Kiss
Ace Frehley
[Mercury Remasters Series]
Rating: 8.5

Who would have guessed that our boy Ace would have had the best solo album of the bunch? (Well, we sure as shit knew it wasn't going to be Peter Criss.) The George Harrison of Kiss had only done lead duties on one song ("Shock Me" from Love Gun) so it figures that eventually, he was going to combust with some songs he'd been writing out of the limelight. Frehley assembled a group of studio musicians -- including drummer Anton Fig and bassist Will Lee, future members of the World's Most Dangerous Band -- and banged out a melange of riff rock, power pop, and just a little bit of soul.

Frehley and co-producer Eddie Kramer deliver the whole she-bang with a fistful of sonic straightup hurled right at the ol' breadbasket. Over half of the songs on here sound better than the overplayed classic rock and the current slew of bands who just haven't figured out how to rock. (That's right, Matchbox 20. I'm talking to you. Meet me back in the alley for an asskicking, and leave your friends Tonic and Third Eye Blind at home.) Sure, some of the lyrics aren't going to win any gold stars here (I especially liked how every line in "Ozone" ended with 'high,' 'guy,' 'fly,' 'try,' etc.) and the cover of "New York Groove" gets old fast.

That aside, I'm still left wondering how the guy who did this album could have tanked so hard with Frehley's Comet. Forgive the cliches, but it rocks. Check it: you've got "What's On Your Mind," a high octane model of 100% Peter Frampton, the snarling "Snow Blind," and the closing instrumental "Fractured Mirror," just to name three. So, to play off a familiar saying, if you only buy one of the Kiss solo albums...

-Jason Josephes

10.0: Essential
9.5-9.9: Spectacular
9.0-9.4: Amazing
8.5-8.9: Exceptional; will likely rank among writer's top ten albums of the year
8.0-8.4: Very good
7.5-7.9: Above average; enjoyable
7.0-7.4: Not brilliant, but nice enough
6.0-6.9: Has its moments, but isn't strong
5.0-5.9: Mediocre; not good, but not awful
4.0-4.9: Just below average; bad outweighs good by just a little bit
3.0-3.9: Definitely below average, but a few redeeming qualities
2.0-2.9: Heard worse, but still pretty bad
1.0-1.9: Awful; not a single pleasant track
0.0-0.9: Breaks new ground for terrible