Album review: Ace Frehley – Origins Vol. 2

Prepare yourself for a covers album of 60s and 70s rock classics adapted to modern times in the signature style of Ace Frehley

Plenty of stories and myths can be told about Frehley, but his work as a musician is undoubtedly one-of-a-kind. Space Ace is still proving these days he still cares about the music and won’t be remembered just for co-founding KISS.

The nostalgia hits hard for most people who grew up listening to what is called “classic rock”. We see new bands recording the classic sounds of the old days, but when one of the most influential guitarists of the 70s decides to release two albums – one released four years ago and one released today – with the songs that inspired and shaped him, it is worth checking it out.

Origins Vol. 2 is the follow up to Origins Vol. 1 which hit #23 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, was his second highest-charting solo album, and his fourth Top 40 album. Once again, it features top-notch collaborators performing the tracks with the groovy, thick and muscular sound that Frehley knows how to deliver.

The album kicks off with the first song from Led Zeppelin’s debut self-titled album, “Good Times, Bad Times”; a huge classic from 1968 which pumps you up. “Space Trucking” from Deep Purple shows us how Frehley rules his Space Ace character, even releasing a funny and well animated video, which was directed by Ken Gullic and animated by Chris Fequiere, the same team behind the “Mission to Mars” music video from Frehley’s Spaceman album in 2018.

The fourth track, “I’m Down”, is by The Beatles and features John 5 who comes back to support Frehley and does an outstanding job in the song. The 1968 Rolling Stones single, “Jumping Jack Flash”, then shows up, featuring legendary Lita Ford on vocals and Frehley shredding the solos and riffs as usual.

An electrified version of “Lola” from the Kinks makes you remember how well Frehley makes others’ songs his own. “Kicks” from Paul Revere and the Raiders turns interesting due to Frehley’s ability to add his personal signature to anything he plays.

The last and bonus track is “She” from KISS’ album Dressed To Kill. If you are familiar with the band, you can sense Frehley’s talent. Originally written by Gene Simmons and Stephen Coronel years before KISS were formed, it was brought back to be part of the band’s third LP. Frehley owns this song totally when playing it, even performing a ripper solo when playing it live. 

Frehley has influenced heaps of guitarists, from Dimebag Darrell, John 5 and Marty Friedman, to Slash and Kim Thayil. On this record, he proves he’s still got it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

FFO: KISS, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin

Origins Vol.2 is out now via eOne

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