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Anomaly (Bronx Born/Rocket Science)
Best Ace album ever, hands down, over the rated-to-over-rated one-of-four from '78, better than the under-rated Frehley's Comet things and Trouble Walkin'. So yeah, fact is, all those albums were pretty solid, written a fair bit in conjunction with others but weirdly touched by Ace's striving riffs and charming holler vocals. Well, long-awaited, Anomaly is a huge, accomplished stadium rock record crafted and produced to perfection - by Ace himself! - and man, likely as good or better than the Kiss record comin' a month later. Seriously, nice touch with the nod-back instrumentals, sly sophistication with the Hanoi Rocks-y 'A Little Below The Angels' and Mink Devilled (RIP) 'It's A Great Life', but more than anything, it's the complicated melodic twists of the album's hard hair metal numbers that take this a notch beyond the expected. In this camp, there's 'Foxy & Free', but especially 'Sister', 'Too Many Faces' and 'Pain In The Neck', each maneuvering with aspiration to big gigging, again, like Kiss stakes, even though anything Ace does is unfortunately going to feel downscale 'cos it will be him and a bunch of unknowns. A glammy cover is a nice tie-in to Frehley's past as well, but 'Fox On The Run' is a wimpy and predictable Sweet choice, that band, if you wanna stick with it, having so much more productive to produce. Glad to see Ace hasn't watered down the thing by utilizing other vocalists - he sings everything, which is just fine by me, Ace's imprecise, ganged-up punk rock bellow providing comfort in a world auto-tuned and Adam Lambert boring. The lyrucks can be a little ex-pig rawk star, but hey, Ace has lived it and if he doesn't have much else to say, well, say and spray whatever ya like, 'cos the musical back-track picks up the slack.
Front Row For The Donkey Show (Full Effect)
Toronto rarely gets the hair, so it was cool to actually witness the Faster disaster sleazers in concert a few days before writing up a review for a live album. Package experienced, and package relished, with mustard. Seriously, OK, Faster Pussycat is down to one original member, but what a member, in the leathered-up and almost corpse-painted, extended of girth, vague Nazi-lookin' Taime Downe, the glam manship navigating his stage, cigarette in hand, immobile, deadpanned, but then sly-smiling that it's all good rock 'n' roll fun, sweetie. With a crack band behind him (two lurches and two happy, humpy roadie types), the sum total is a powerhouse of solid sleaze metal, blessed to be working a rich enough catalogue, simple and slamming, highlight being the smartly structured title track from the band's surprisingly good '06 studio album, The Power & The Glory Hole. Elsewhere the Gunners-meets-Hanoi Rocks gutbutter anthems flow, with an ill-advised drop into Taime's industrial hobby. 'House Of Pain' represents hair metal balladeering at its finest and a molten, grinding good time is had by all. Don't succumb jaded to the dissing - see Faster live and bask in this gang's audacious legitimacy.
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