Review Summary: Get that man off the control board, stat!!
After leaving KISS, it masy have taken Ace Frehley five years to resurface in the music world, but once he did, he sure kept busy. 1987 saw the release of his second solo album – the first after KISS – titled Frehley’s Comet
; the subsequent two years saw that solo project evolve into a full-fledged band, named after that first release. After an exploratory live EP, the stage was set for the first “real” Frehley’s Comet release, 1988’s Second Sighting
Now, the Comet’s first release was an immensely entertaining hard rock affair, which proved that Ace Frehley still had enough relevance to pursue a solo career in the late 1980’s; the live EP was pointless, but also somewhat entertaining; and all this left Second Sighting
with somewhat large shoes to fill. And for a moment there, it seems it is going to be able to fit them: opener Insane
is a good mid-tempo, with a nice groove, a great chorus and a confident performance from Ace. It sets a really high standard for the album; so high, in fact, that what comes after becomes an even bigger disillusion.
In fact, the first time I heard the album, the three songs after Insane
were a monumental bucket of cold water from which the album never recovered. Subsequent listens minimized that effect, and highlighted a few more worthwhile traits on the album, but the fact remains: nothing on here even comes close to invading Insane
’s comfort zone, let alone stand side by side with it.
Not that it’s all bad. Power ballad It’s Over Now
is competent, as far as this type of song is concerned, and makes for an entertaining, if incredibly cheesy, listen. Once again, Ace puts on a confident vocal performance, and musically, it’s not half bad either. Further on, Separate
is also a fun stomp, if a little limp lyrically, and songs like Juvenile Delinquent
and New Kind Of Lover
are harmless, semi-entertaining fluff.
The problem, then, is Tod Howarth. Like on the first Frehley’s Comet album, he splits vocal duties with Ace, but where previously his input was limited, now he is everywhere. His register, which can best be described as “shrill”, ruins the sometimes decent riffs conjured up by him and the band leader – the best examples are probably Time Ain’t Running Out
and Loser In A Fight
, but you could pick pretty much any song where he sings lead, apart from maybe New Kind Of Lover
, and my point would be valid. Furthermore, whenever he steps forward, the songs take on a sort of uncomfortable Bon Jovivor sound which strays dangerously close to Peter Criss.
Another point which may or may not be viewed as a problem, depending on the outlook, is the fact that a whole lot of KISS has seeped into Frehley’s Comet’s sound. The drum opening on Insane
already brings shades of Do You Love Me
, and further on Separate
revives the drums from I Love It Loud
and ends up sounding like something that could have been on Lick It Up
. Juvenile Delinquent
, on the other hand, is vintage KISS, right down to the lyricism (”you’re not a kid anymore/adolescence’s behind/you’re looking good these days/girl I’m not blind”
) and Ace putting on his best Gene Simmons impression. So as you can see, a lot of Ace’s former band is present on this album, which, as stated, may or may not be viewed as negative.
At the end of the day, however, this album has just one problem: much like KISS’s Hot In The Shade
, which this resembles, there is nothing openly offensive here (apart from the vile Fallen Angel
), but the really good moments can be counted on the fingers of half a hand. There are much worse hard rock albums out there, sure, but there are also many better ones. Skip it.
It’s Over Now