FREHLEY’S COMET – Second Sighting [Rock Candy remaster]
As founding member and lead guitarist of Kiss, ACE FREHLEY – known affectionately as the Space Ace – was probably one of the most identifiable rock stars of the ’70s. Indeed, his profile was so prominent that when management had the brilliant idea of releasing four solo albums simultaneously, it was Ace’s record that not only sold the most but also attracted the best reviews – fact that supposedly still irritates other members of Kiss to this very day.
“Second Sighting“, originally issued in 1988, was the second outing from his own FREHLEY’S COMET, gathering together a working band that featured seasoned drummer Jamie Oldaker, ex-John Waite bassist John Regan and, perhaps most importantly, songwriter and multi instrumentalist Tod Howarth, a man who had gained a stirling reputation as leader of cult AOR favourites 707 and live work with both Cheap Trick and Ted Nugent.
FREHLEY’S COMET “Second Sighting” needed a proper remastering according to present time, and that’s exactly what Rock Candy Records has done.
“Second Sighting” is the ‘commercial’ album in Ace’s career. He relies here on outside songwriters and Tod Howarth for the majority of the tunes, and the production sound is clearly oriented to the radio friendly, arena rock from the era.
Let’s not forget how important context is; when released, it was summer 1988. It was the summer of Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Dokken… and Ace Frehley, why not. And although the record didn’t sold as the aforementioned acts, it’s a more than a solid product of the ’80s.
So what we have here is very good, commercial melodic hard rock, even AOR a times as on the first single and ballad “It’s Over Now” (sung by Howarth).
Opener “Insane”, and later “Separate”, are perhaps the songs more closer to the Ace of old, and the mostly-instrumental “The Acorn Is Spinning” shows that the band can jam with class. New drummer Jamie Oldaker (Eric Clapton) isn’t as fancy as the unavailable Anton Fig, but he throws in some pretty cool fills.
The second track is a melancholy Dokken-esque mid-tempo from Tod, “Time Ain’t Runnin’ Out”, plenty of great keyboards, meaty vocals and very good guitar work. A highlight that reminds me the Phenomena project.
“Dancin’ With Danger” boasts a batch of co-writers including Spencer Proffer (Quiet Riot), Streetheart, Ace and Dana Strum from rival band Vinnie Vincent Invasion. This cut simply smokes. It has an ’80s ZZ Top-like sequencer part, adding a robotic pulse but not taking anything else away. The riff is pretty heavy, Ace takes the lead vocal and an absolutely scorching solo.
Frehley enters into “Juvenile Delinquent” with some cool guitar effects, a catchy hard rock song with a great vibe, followed by the AORish, Night Ranger-like melodic rock of “Fallen Angel”. One of my favorites for sure.
As said, “Separate” sounds like vintage Ace with an extended guitar solo as the centerpiece, and next “New Kind of Lover” returns to classic melodic hard rock with lots of radio-friendly magic courtesy of Howarth.
If you don’t like Frehley’s music, but instead commercial melodic hard rock melodies, then “Second Sighting” is an album to have. It’s slick, multi-layered, rich in keyboards & sharp riffs and plenty of catchy choruses.
This Rock Candy remaster is excellent to my ears, glossy and crisp.
01 – Insane
02 – Time Ain’t Runnin’ Out
03 – Dancin’ With Danger
04 – It’s Over Now
05 – Loser In A Fight
06 – Juvenile Delinquent
07 – Fallen Angel
08 – Separate
09 – New Kind Of Lover
10 – The Acorn Is Spinning
Ace Frehley – guitars, lead and backing vocals
Tod Howarth – guitars, keyboards, lead and backing vocals
John Regan – bass, backing vocals
Jamie Oldaker – drums
BUY IT !