Review Summary: Harmless, inocuous, but ultimately underwhelming. Frehley fans can get this without fear; the rest had better invest elsewhere.
If there was an artist nobody expected to hear from in 2009, it was Paul “Ace” Frehley. After all, the man hadn’t released a solo album in twenty years
, and even his relevance had dwindled after the second departure from KISS. And yet…Anomaly
. Released just in time to compete with his old band’s much-hyped return (also after an extended hiatus), the album was generally regarded by the press as mediocre, even though Ace himself claims that this is the perfect reflection of his sober self. But does it really deserve all the flak, or is it just a misunderstood effort from a washed-out musician?
Well, the answer is: a bit of both. While there are definitely some rollicking good times to be had with this album, it is also true that most of it veers between the inoffensively boring and the cheesily bad. In addition, there seem to be about four songs too many, which in a 12-song album is not necessarily a good thing.
But let’s start with the good. Two of the songs on here are excellent slabs of suitably cheesy hard rock, namely lead single Outer Space
and Fox On The Run
. And while the former may be the stronger song overall, the latter features the absolute best chorus of the album – and, arguably, Ace’s solo career – in a total throwback to the guitarist’s vintage days at KISS. In fact, this section sounds like it could have come straight out of Destroyer
, where it’d be stuck between Flaming Youth
and Shout It Out Loud
; unsurprisingly, the song itself is the standout of the album.
Unfortunately, however, the rest of the album does not live up to this couple of tracks. As noted, the remaining songs veer between the acceptably bland hard rock of Faces In The Mirror
or Change The World
, the unforgivable corniness of A Little Below The Angels
– which sees Frehley’s daughter join her father in a dialogue so stilted it wouldn’t look out of place in a porn movie – and the risible lyrics of Sister
, which were surely inspired by Gene Simmons. And the presence of not one, not two, but three
instrumentals can only be defined as overkill, even if none of them is ever particularly bothersome (Fractured Quantum
comes closest, being just as irrelevant and overlong as all the other chapters in the saga).
In the end, the overall impression one retains of Anomaly
is close to that one gets after listening to Sonic Boom
: an album which has some good spots, but where the big picture is not really as satisfying as the long wait would demand. Frehley fans can get this without fear; the rest had better invest elsewhere.
Fox On The Run