Review: Ace Frehley still has what it takes on "Origins"

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Posted: Apr 15, 2016 12:28 PM
Review: Ace Frehley still has what it takes on "Origins"

Ace Frehley "Origins Vol. 1" (Entertainment One)

The twice (and future?) Kiss guitarist has put his other-worldly spin on classic rock anthems he grew up on, including legendary tracks from Creem ("White Room;") Steppenwolf ("Magic Carpet Ride;") the Rolling Stones ("Street Fighting Man;") and Jimi Hendrix ("Spanish Castle Magic.")

The idea was just to let Ace rip on songs he's loved since he was a little alien on Planet Jendell. But the result might just indicate he's ready for a third incarnation as The Spaceman in whatever time Kiss has left. With 2014's "Space Invader," Frehley showed he can still write quirky, compelling rock songs, and this album shows his playing chops and classic rock sensibilities remain in fine form.

He out-guitars Jimmy Page on Led Zeppelin's "Bring it On Home," which is no small feat. He trades licks with Slash on Thin Lizzy's "Emerald," and exchanges vocals and guitars with Lita Ford on the Troggs' "Wild Thing" (which still doesn't sound the same without Sam Kinison screaming it).

Frehley re-does three classic Kiss songs with extended solos, including two of his greatest, "Parasite" and "Cold Gin," along with "Rock And Roll Hell" from 1982's "Creatures of the Night," which his initial replacement Vinnie Vincent played on.

And if Kiss conspiracy theorists need any more to fuel to rumor mill, Frehley teams up with Kiss lead singer Paul Stanley on a cover of Free's "Fire And Water," marking their first collaboration since 1998's "Psycho Circus."

Stanley and Gene Simmons need to sit down, listen to this album closely, and consider the possibilities. Put him in, coach; he's ready to play.