Music Review: Ex-Kiss Guitarist Ace Frehley Is Back With Another Great Solo Album

This image released by MNRK Records shows "10,000 Volts" by Ace Frehley. (MNRK Records via AP)
This image released by MNRK Records shows "10,000 Volts" by Ace Frehley. (MNRK Records via AP)

No shock here: Ace Frehley has still got the power.

The former Kiss guitarist whose vocal debut came on 1977's “Shock Me” is back with “10,000 Volts,” a new solo album that's crackling with energy and personality.

The title track is another electricity-themed song from Frehley, who sustained a major electrical shock on stage in 1976 from touching an ungrounded metal railing. The foundational guitar riff is true ear candy, one that will stay in your brain for weeks with just a single listen.

“Up In The Sky" is vintage Space Ace wondering about mysterious lights in the heavens ("I know what I saw!") and “Cosmic Heart” is a dark, slower-paced rocker reminiscent of Kiss's “She” from 1975.

Frehley remains one of hard rock's classic guitar pioneers, with a string-bending, blues-based vibrato sound that's instantly recognizable.

“Back Into My Arms Again” is a holdover from his first solo tour in 1985 that was never recorded until now. It's the kind of power ballad MTV ate up in the 1980s; it remains to be seen how well it might do now.

“Fightin' For Life” is the album's hardest rocker, about his days running with a street gang in New York City. “Constantly Cute” is a catchy pop-rocker marred by truly cringe-worthy lyrics that even a puppy-love-smitten 12-year old wouldn't use, and “Blinded” takes aim at the risks of artificial intelligence.

It ends, as all Ace Frehley solo albums do, with an instrumental in the style and spirit of “Fractured Mirror,” the acoustic-electric composition that closed his self-titled 1978 solo album. This one is called “Stratosphere,” and it highlights Ace's creativity and songwriting talents better than many of the vocal tracks.


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