While the former “Space Ace” of KISS makes soft headlines with his thoughts about the current KISS line-up and how amazed he is with his past contributions, it’s easy to forget about his solo career. Anomaly back in 2009 was well received and contained some strong material, so expectation could understandably be high for this sixth studio album.
His voice is genuine and recognizable as he sings strong tracks like the title track, Gimme a Feelin’ and I Wanna Hold You which all open the album in fine style. Thus far the guitar-wielding explorer of space isn’t merely talking the talk, but he’s walking the walk. Alas, he doesn’t maintain the momentum for the full 12 track set.
The final instrumental called Starship goes to prove how competent and good the mighty Ace is with his six-string beast but for the casual observer, it is overblown and frustrating if you’re heart yearns for a ‘song’. Imagine witnessing a gig by someone you respect but then you’re presented with a seven minute drum solo which doesn’t blow your mind. It would be fair to say that if you’re an avid and devoted fan, you’ll soak up the virtuosity like a self-confident woman soaks up the rays of the sun for that ideal body tan.
Frehley enjoys his moments of tackling other people’s songs and amongst the collection on Space Invader his choice is The Joker. Originally the title track to the Steve Miller Band’s 1973 studio album, Frehley stamps his sound and style comfortably on it. Coming across more like a comfortable cover as opposed to something that has truly reinvented the original, it fits well on the album.
The riffs are full of the sincere soul of rock n’ roll as you crank up the stereo to hear What Every Girl Wants and Inside the Vortex. Once you’ve taken a moment to reflect on your listening experience though, you’ll possibly feel a little short-changed with the overall quality. Sure, Space Invader has its moments, but there are examples like the final instrumental, Immortal Pleasures and Toys which just miss the mark and don’t stand up to the better material on show.
You have to be careful when you spend so much time in space that you don’t lose your mind amongst all of those stars. With his talk of assembling an album of cover versions featuring special guests, even the good man himself doesn’t wish to dwell too much on this album as he hopes to unleash the cover version album in 2015. Quite rightly the “Space Ace” deserves respect and has produced some great rock music, but this album isn’t a highlight in his career or his lowest point; it settles amongst the good but not the great.