KERRANG! ISSUE 145 April 1987
Frehley’s Comet (Megaforce/Atlantic)
LIKE BEER, fags and condoms, Kiss wasn’t meant to come in packs-of one. Kiss together is a hefty herd of buffalo, stampeding over every last quivering brain cell and earhair, stomping senses into a puddle of steaming body-heat. Kiss separate, is lost in space. Acting and producing and Vinnie’s Invasion aside, nothing great that has come out of Kiss has come out of Kiss. Stick any of those ‘78 solo albums up against any Kiss album and (with the possible exception of ‘(Music From) The Elder’) you’ll see what I mean.
So, nine years and lots of soon-come Kerrang! mentions on, here’s Ace Frehley, back with an album. And what can I tell you? The Kiss-quarter is great – the swaggering guitar, the chords that roar like a pimpmobile, that big brutal Grendel beast of a waste-laying axe – every bit as wonderful as it ever was. The rest isn’t. By that I mean the songs (a couple of good ones, a handful of rubbish) with a special mention for the lyrics (standard-to-embarrassing, like the Ace-in-your-hole ’Dolls’,’ I love my dolls’, with squeaky pre-pube ‘chorus vocals, yuk!) and the singing, not muscular enough and without much variety or tone. Hurdles that even an old thoroughbred like Eddie Kramer, producer, can’t get over.
The songs start off with some of the finest grungy guitar intros you could ask for – the serious rock guitarist start to ‘Something Moved’, for instance, or the fist-clenching filigree of ’We Got Your Rock’ – and just don’t go anywhere. Nice foreplay, but they just don’t come.
The three Ks are for opening track ‘Rock Soldiers’, bit more on the military marching-band side than Meat Loaf’s mercenaries, with half-spoken vocals and pervasive stomp; ‘Something Moved’ with a glorious guitar bit;. ‘Breakout’, co-written with Kiss drummer Eric Carr; ‘Calling To You’ with more levels to it than the others, although the vocals can’t live up to it; and the anthem with built-in arena chants, ‘We Got Your Rock’, hot and dirty and ringing with the clink of the turnstiles. That finishes off Side One; Side Two, by far the weaker, ends with a so-so instrumental.
The first single, so I’m told, looks like being the cover of Russ Ballard’s ’ln The Night’ (Ace likes Ballard; he covered another – fortunately better – Ballard song on his ‘78 solo album!), another song with iffy vocals and great guitar sound.
Live it’ll probably be a whole lot more exciting than this record. Like I said, one Kiss is rarely enough.