Anomaly (Bronx Born/ Rocket Science)
by Martin Popoff
Best Ace Frehley album ever, hands down, over the rated-to-over-rated one-of-four from ’78, better than the under-rated Frehley’s Comet things and Trouble Walkin’. So yeah, fact is, all those albums were pretty solid, written a fair bit in conjunction with others but weirdly touched by Ace’s striving riffs and charming holler vocals. Well, long-awaited, Anomaly is a huge, accomplished stadium rock record crafted and produced to perfection – by Ace himself! – and man, likely as good or better than the Kiss record comin’ a month later. Seriously, nice touch with the nod-back instrumentals, sly sophistication with the Hanoi Rocks-y “A Little Below The Angels” and Mink Devilled (RIP) “It’s A Great Life,” but more than anything, it’s the complicated melodic twists of the album’s hard hair metal numbers that take this a notch beyond the expected. In this camp, there’s “Foxy & Free,” but especially “Sister,” “Too Many Faces” and “Pain In The Neck,” each maneuvering with aspiration to big gigging, again, like Kiss stakes, even though anything Ace does is unfortunately going to feel downscale ‘cos it will be him and a bunch of unknowns. A glammy cover is a nice tie-in to Frehley’s past as well, but “Fox On The Run” is a wimpy and predictable Sweet choice, that band, if you wanna stick with it, having so much more productive to produce. Glad to see Ace hasn’t watered down the thing by utilizing other vocalists – he sings everything, which is just fine by me, Ace’s imprecise, ganged-up punk rock bellow providing comfort in a world auto-tuned and Adam Lambert boring. The lyrucks can be a little ex-pig rawk star, but hey, Ace has lived it and if he doesn’t have much else to say, well, say and spray whatever ya like, ‘cos the musical back-track picks up the slack.