I have now fully digested Ace’s Space Invader at home and in the vehicle. It’s a rock and roll party. For the first few weeks it was an everyday endeavor which was the first indication that Ace was back, even if he had neglected to say so.
SI is a nice kick in ass from Mr. Excitement. I give it high rankings …. perhaps his 2nd or 3rd best ever. It is that good and will provide a lifetime of spins for this Rock Soldier to be sure. Put it this way, if I made a double disc Ace Frehley bestie “Space Invader” cuts would be featured nicely.
First off, super catchy rocking numbers like “What Every Girl Wants”, “I Wanna Hold You”, “Gimme A Feelin'” and “Immortal Pleasures” make it a must have for any true rock fan, especially any KISS fan. Secondly, “Space Invader” has more guitars than stage right at a Cheap Trick show (ah, Rick) and they are meaty, beaty, big, bouncy and inspired. He stretches out a bit too with some new feels. The outro guitar solo on the title cut is arguably some of Ace’s hottest guitar work ever. The sustain drone and coincidental random feedback chimes that happen when he gets to the very top of the register near the end of the tune are magic. He does a couple of these Hendrix pull-off trills that recall the rapid-fire harmonic tweaks on the “Makin’ Love” solo on Alive II. Ace sounds relaxed (isn’t he always?) and smartly gives himself plenty of runaway for flight, allowing him time to get lost in the cascading rock, further propelling him back into the void for another ‘Ozone’ mission.
What I love about the record though, the thing that has really grabbed me, is the content. Yes, the content. The lyrics. The vibe. The messages. The love. The best illustration to me lies in the revelatory platitudes on the dark yet triumphant “Change”. It’s Ace offering some encouragement to those suffering from addiction and letting us all in on a little secret, in fact ‘the secret’ —- “that you can hold the world in your hand”. I think Ace is talking about projection, positive thinking, the laws of attraction. Reality. He’s a semi-cosmic spiritual cat, a child of the 60’s, a man of peace and a hippy at heart who has grown up enough now to set everyone in the conversation straight when he confides “it’s the changing that counts, now open your eyes”. Um ….fuck yeah bro.
I also dig “Past The Milky Way” quite a bit, a love song in which Ace admits he may not make it to Venus because he’s already “traveled very far”, instead proposing a “rendezvous on Mars”. A very reasonable request in light of all he’s been through really. Plus, his computer has been telling him he’s lost. Alas, the Spaceman is able to gather his thoughts enough to sing about becoming a better man. Sure, he’s “running out of oxygen”, we all are, but in Ace’s case he’s still got his guitar. He has traveled half way across the universe in more ways than one just to hold this chick in his arms. Amen.
Thank goodness and thank you Ace for the mammoth rock vision (and good time) that is “Space Invader” — you bring us great happiness from Jendell, AWK!