In my review of Ace Frehley's 2016 covers offering Origins, Vol. 1, I stated that the album was "a fun, honest, though somewhat 'by the numbers' release by Ace Frehley", and this second installment coming roughly four years later isn't all that much different. The former KISS lead guitarist even has gone so far as to mine most of the same bands for inspiration here on Origins, Vol. 2, such as The Rolling Stones, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks, Led Zeppelin, and, of course, his old band. A few cool surprises, like Mountain's "Never In My Life", Humble Pie's "30 Days in the Hole", Deep Purple's "Space Truckin'", and a few '60s staples from The Animals and Paul Revere and the Raiders saddle up alongside some other predictable choices from the bands mentioned above. Throughout, Ace's guitar playing is quite enjoyable, tossing in his trademark riffs, licks, and solos into these classic rock staples, especially fun on Zeppelin's "Good Times Bad Times", "Never in My Life", and "Politician", where his bluesy metal runs fit just fine. "Lola" was a good choice for this set, a rousing, sing along song as it is, and given 'party' treatment by Ace, and he does a fine job on the Stones classic "Jumpin' Jack Flash" as you would expect.
Dragging this set down unfortunately are the Space Ace's weak vocals, where were never his strongpoint to begin with, but here trying to belt out lines previously sung by Robert Plant, Leslie West, Steve Marriott, and especially Ian Gillan, simply does not work. The Beatles "I'm Down"? Ouch. Thankfully he has a few guest singers who pop up in spots to help him out, but when the most successful track on the album is "She" by KISS (as it probably should be!), you know you are in for a tough listen.
I mean, it's Ace Frehley, we all love him, and this is by no means a horrible covers album. No doubt he had fun making it, just like the first one, but this is a cursory listen, once and done, while we wait for another new album of all original material. And, half a bonus point for the totally cool album cover, which rocks probably more than anything else here.
- Good Times Bad Times (Led Zeppelin) 3:22
- Never In My Life (Mountain) 4:03
- Space Truckin' (Deep Purple) 5:03
- I'm Down (The Beatles) 2:58
- Jumpin' Jack Flash (The Rolling Stones) 3:28
- Politician (Cream) 4:27
- Lola (The Kinks) 3:46
- 30 Days In The Hole (Humble Pie) 3:28
- Manic Depression (The Jimi Hendrix Experience) 4:01
- Kicks (Paul Revere & the Raiders) 2:58
- We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (The Animals) 3:39
- She (KISS) [Bonus Track] 5:26