Spaceman is legendary former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley's third solo outing in four years, a spurt of activity that has seemed to coincide with his extended sobriety, allowing the iconic 'space ace' to keep a constant surge of musical activity for the first time in decades. Containing eight original songs and one cover, Spaceman also sees the guitarist working with ex-KISS mate Gene Simmons again for the first time in many years, as the 'demon' co-write two of the albums songs and even adds in some bass as well. Contributing drums on the album is Anton Fig, Scot Coogan, and Matt Starr.
Much of the album is comprised of uptempo hard rockers littered with Frehley's still gritty guitar riffs & solos, one of the best being "Bronx Boy", an autobiographical tune about Ace's childhood growing up in New York City, chock full of nasty riffing and biting blues metal soloing. It's easily one of Ace's heaviest songs in years. "Without You I'm Nothing" and "Your Wish Is My Command" were both co-written with Simmons and feature Gene on bass, and his presence is immediately felt, though lyrically both tracks are really cheesy despite qualifying as fun hard rockers musically. "Rockin' With the Boys" is another solid track, as is the driving "Pursuit of Rock and Roll", though again, at times the lyrics are fairly cringe worthy. Also not up to snuff are Frehley's vocals, which, to be honest, were never his strong point, but he always had a very unique style, here they are just consistently on the weak side. It's really apparent on the cover of Eddie Money's "I Wanna Go Back", as Ace is straining to hit the notes to the point of it being almost embarrassing to listen to. Thankfully, you'll forget about that debacle once you hear the kick ass "Mission to Mars", a crunchy, riff-infested tune that also contains a classic Ace guitar solo, as well as the lengthy closing instrumental "Quantum Flux", which allows the spaceman to let his guitar do the talking within a cool prog-rock framework. Plenty of acoustic and electric tones on this one, and another album highlight.
Overall, kind of a mixed bag from the KISS legend, Spaceman sporting a handful of strong tracks but also a few generic rockers with weak lyrics & vocals, plus a forgettable Eddie Money cover. Fans of Ace Frehley though will definitely want to check this out, as there's enough here to warrant a recommendation, and time will tell of the 'Spaceman' will be included in some way on KISS' upcoming farewell tour in 2019.
- Without You I'm Nothing 4:04
- Rockin' With the Boys 4:14
- Your Wish Is My Command 3:37
- Bronx Boy 2:50
- Pursuit Of Rock and Roll 4:32
- I Wanna Go Back 4:01
- Mission To Mars 3:38
- Off My Back 3:36
- Quantum Flux 6:26