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Released: 2009, Bronx Born Records
Reviewer: Robert Williams
"Space" Ace Frehley makes a dramatic return after a twenty year hiatus from his solo career with ANOMALY. Eleven brand new Ace epics and one Sweet cover ('Fox On The Run') make up his fourth solo disc (fifth if you count his KISS era solo album)
Always the hardest rocker of the kabuki clad kings of the nighttime world, it's no surprise that Ace's new album opens up with the metallic "Foxy & Free" a track that recalls heavier Hendrix and features a pretty infectious chorus. Second track and the album's first single "Outer Space" is about as heavy duty as you are likely to ever hear the Spaceman. This song was made for heavy FM rotation.
"Pain In The Neck" is a catchy little hard rocker and I love the slurred almost drunkenly belligerent chorus. We are all familiar with Ace's past track record with cover tunes. First there was "New York Groove" originally performed by Hello. Ace made that track into a top twenty hit and an anthem still played at New York sporting events. Then you will recall his brilliant take on Electric Light Orchestra's "Do Ya?" In keeping with this time honored tradition of out rocking the original version of the songs he covers, Ace conquers "Fox On The Run" by Sweet. Like all the choice covers before, this song seems like it was written specifically for Ace. What a fun number, "Fox..." is.
"Genghis Khan" is kind of spacey (no pun intended) multitracked to oblivion with the massive wall of sound approach. Electric guitars, acoustic guitars, lead overdubs, lead vocals, backing choir, church bells...the kitchen sink. This track is probably the album's epic right here.
There are a couple of ballads on ANOMALY. "Change the World" and "A Little Below The Angels" The aforementioned reminding me a bit of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Rolling Stones which kind of speaks volumes of truth because I would have much rather "wanted" two more hard rockers in place of the ballads, but like ol' Mick says...
"Sister" has a distinct seventies KISS feel to it and I mean that in a good way. This could very easily have been a lost b-side from the "Love Gun" sessions it is that good.
There are also two instrumentals in "Space Bear" and closing number "Fractured Quantum". "Space Bear" packs a funky seventies punch and is mean like some old Edgar Winter. "Fractured Quantum" is melodic and a little mellow, not quite the way I'd end an album but after twenty years of waiting is easy to overlook.
One last thing worthy of mention here is the unique packaging of ANOMALY. My copy folds up into a cardboard pyramid that features the albums Ace Frehley designed artwork. How many CDs in your collection can do that? It's appreciated in this day and age for artists to still care about CD collectors and go out of their way to jazz up the finished product. Word on the street is that there are more recorded works in the can and a follow up will follow hot on the heels of ANOMALY. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for that!
1. Foxy & Free
2. Outer Space
3. Pain In The Neck
4. Fox On The Run
5. Genghis Khan
6. Too Many Faces
7. Change The World
8. Space Bear
9. A Little Below The Angels
11. It's A Great Life
12. Fractured Quantum
Ace Frehley - Vocals, Lead Guitar
Derek Hawkins - Rhythm Guitar
Anthony Esposito - Bass
Anton Fig - Drums
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