"Anomaly; a deviation from the common rule, type, arrangement, or form".
OK, so let's get past all the usual rambling here. Yup, Ace was the cool one in Kiss; yup, he plays a mean Les Paul; yup, he's spent a large part of the past 25 years on another planet and yup, he has just released a new album called 'Anomaly' - but is it much of a deviation for Ace?
On first play I cranked it up and album opener 'Foxy & Free' flew out of the speakers with a dirty big riff then Ace starts singing about satisfying needs and forgetting about reality. Yeah, Ace you tell em. Me, I sit up and listen - Ace butt, I'm all yours.
'Foxy & Free' might follow a well trodden path but it shows all the signs of what's good about Ace and his records; great riff, big sound, sleazy lyrics delivered in his Noo Yawk drawl. 'Outer Space' is up next and again it pretty much follows on from the opener - it's Ace doing what he does best. This pattern follows through the first half of the CD up until we get to the cover of The Sweet's 'Fox On The Run' which is, in fairness, a great re-working and suits Ace very well.
It's then the album starts to come undone. 'Genghis Khan' in all its 6+ minutes of acoustic to electric noodling of the highest order - a right exhausting muso workout indeed. At this point it isn't what 'Anomaly' needs, in my humble opinion. Then follows a few weaker songs with some dreadful lyrical imagery and, OK some might tell me, "Ace isn't about clever lyrics, he's all about the axe work" but some of these lyrics are cringe worthy and even an axe genius can do a whole lot better. "When I make a wish I make it on eagle's wings. When I say a prayer I pray for peace" and that's one of the better ones.
Following that is another needless instrumental work out - is it really called 'Space Bear'??(OK the riff is promising, but c'mon). Ace gets all honest and strums the acoustic path whilst looking for some sort of redemption in the lyrics for 'A Little Below The Angels' - a decent song none the less. Things are once again on the up. 'Sister' picks up the tempo before the end - finally, at the end - where Ace gets all light hearted and jangles through 'It's A Great Life' before closing the album with fret noodling instrumental number 3!
So, in summary I'd have to conclude that had this been a mini album (remember them) of say six songs, it would have been a cracker but a dozen songs of which three are instrumentals is a bit tough for me, which is a shame as I really wanted this album to rock n roll from start to finish and show his old buddies how it's done.... but sadly 'Anomaly' peaked too early. Those who shouldn't be mentioned might come in later this month and steal the show with their 'Sonic Boom'. Now, had both parties got together and pooled their best ideas we might be looking at one hell of an album that would have wasted the opposition in 2009 but, sadly I fear, it ain't gonna happen kids. Sadly, what we'll probably be left with, my rock soldiers, is two incomplete pieces of work and that, folks, is a shame.