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Ace Frehley | Spaceman

The KISS refugee is back with another soundalike album — and I told you so.

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“I know that things will never be the same,” claims Ace Frehley midway through his eighth solo album. Who is he kidding? If there’s one thing in this world that almost never changes, it’s the erstwhile KISS guitarist’s approach to making a new studio album. And Spaceman is no exception. Though not necessarily in a good way. Truth is, if you’ve heard most of the disc’s seven predecessors — with the notable exception of his 2016 covers set Origins, Vol. 1 — you know almost exactly what you’re in for: Another batch of crunchy four-chord guitar-rock anthems straight out of the KISS playbook. Another bunch of pedestrian, semi-autobiographical lyrics about rocket rides, his love of rock ’n’ roll, his appreciation for the fans and his hard-living past, voiced in his barely passable Noo Yawk honk. Another cameo from an old bandmate — this time it’s bassist and eternal frenemy Gene Simmons, who plays bass on two cuts he also co-wrote (Gene also suggested the album’s title). Another epic guitar-wank instrumental to close the disc. And another press release claiming that the album harkens back to the glory days of his first and undeniably best solo disc. If you’re feeling diplomatic, you could quite rightly take the view that Ace is nothing if not dependable. If you’re not feeling charitable, well, you probably gave up on the Spaceman a long time ago. Either way, Ace is back — and I told you so.