Due to moving house and some illness issues with the rest of the team this review failed to meet the release date, but it did give me the advantage of listening to the album a couple of times before reviewing it. We did a piece on Ace a year or so back and it is great that he continues to tour and make new music, what odds would you have had on that a couple of decades ago? Paul Stanley, of the original 4 would have been my bet to still be doing new music and hitting the charts. But his “Soul Station” was a remake of the Peter Criss solo album, and Ace retains the baton. Not that Ace hasn’t lost his way often enough, a point he alludes to in the lyrics of this album off and on. This album, for me, is closer to “Anomaly,” it would be placed at 4 in my personal lists of Ace albums – my top four: the 1978 solo, then “Frehley’s Comet,” “Trouble Walking” and then this one.

Ace has been in the music news a lot with promotions, seems to have Eddie Trunk on speed dial,  and he has usually commented that Kiss used his name to sell the last shows on their tour. But, let’s face it, he is using the Kiss connection to sell this album. I really don’t think that the album makes Kiss look shameful, but I do acknowledge that the lack of new music by Kiss after “Monster” does point toward a desire from Ace for new music that I wish Gene and Paul had.

I had to grab this review off Stevie, who would have completed it, because I reviewed the last two albums by Ace for another magazine, before this one existed, then they fell out with me a bit (I am never comfortable with blasting five stars on everything released) and we said goodbye. So, no names, but it still annoys! And I do love Ace, he was part of my childhood, and his influence on other guitarists is so wide reaching, Ace is back, and we are telling you so.


And so onto the album:

“10,000 Volts” is a melodic hard rocker to open things. Ace sounds entirely like Ace! A chugging style of guitar as Ace notes “Time Waits for No-Man.” He feels like he is in space, and, you know, he blends space with attraction for that special lady here. We liked the single when it was released, and it retains appeal on a second listen.

“Walkin’ on the Moon” gives a nod toward the new lady in the life of Ace. It is kind of romantic in its own way and is distinctive. It is a commercial track backed by a fun video. 

“Cosmic Heart” sees Ace on a deeper and more edgy track, reflecting on times when he lost his way, but he continues to drive his life, and he can’t be controlled. I liked the guitar break solo mid-track, and the track does enough to hit the button.

“Cherry Medicine” is Ace singing to his new love, and he clearly has found a partner that has helped him refocus the latter part of his career, and provide a lyrical muse. It is a rocky track, entertains and would sound great live, I think, if Ace moved off his Kiss set list a bit more.

“Back into my Arms Again.” This is a direction change on the album, and it quickly jumps out as an Ace style ballad. I liked the chorus, and the hooks are delivered nicely. It has a positive vibe. Ace is in a good place!

“Fightin’ for Life” – Now I really liked this one, my favourite on the album so far. Of course, it is a dog-eat-dog world out there, you come to a fight, be prepared for the dirty street life! Ace looking back at his gang days, the best guitar work on the album, the track is fresh and breathes passion for what he does. This track is worth the price of admission by itself. Bang on!

“Blinded” is interesting ‘ish.’ It is a track loosely about AI and the dangers of technology. I would say that this is one of those solid enough album tracks, but it lacks the meltdown of the previous track. 

“Constantly Cute” is okay. It is Ace being loving toward his lady again. Nothing wrong with that. It, again, has a melodic rock feel to it. But it didn’t really light any fires for me. It’s okay.

“Life of a Stranger” changes direction, and it is a dreamy, slow rocker. I liked it, there is a certain something about it! I thought Ace’s voice nailed it, and the guitar moves through the groove with some extra spice here and there. A good number.

“Up in the Sky” has one of those “New York Groove” grooves, and it sets up everything well for a rock/funk groove. It’s returning to space, and it really sounds like the sort of thing Ace must do by numbers now. 

“Stratosphere” ends on an instrumental, in traditional Ace Frehley style. He does these so well, I almost wish he’d do an album where these instrumentals were all placed together, but I guess in the digital age, that is what a playlist is for! It builds up the sound, has a spacey twist, and is distinctively Ace.

And there we are. As you know, we don’t give stars here, but if I were doing that, this one would get 4 When it hits the spot, it really does, but it also has a couple of passengers that I would have probably left aside. Basically, if you love Ace, then you will absolutely like this album. It features him in a very positive vein, clearly happy with life and delivering the chops. If you are a casual rock fan, then you will like most of it. It is classy melodic rock that has a nineties feel to it in places, like one of the guitar greats.

Standout tracks: “Fightin’ for Life,” “Walkin on the Moon,” and “Stratosphere.”

By Mark C. Chambers

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