Ace Frehley’s solo album Anomaly was a comeback of sorts for the ex-Kiss guitarist. Released in 2009, it was his first solo adventure since quitting Kiss for the second time. In 2017, it was reissued as a questionable “deluxe edition”. Why questionable? There are only three added tracks. The album was remastered (out of necessity so that the unreleased tracks match the album) and a new essay was included.
We reviewed Anomaly back in 2013 as part of a complete Ace Frehley review series. There’s little point in rehashing it all. The good songs are still the good songs: “Outer Space” (Shredmill cover), “Fox on the Run” (The Sweet cover), “Change the World”, “Sister”, “Genghis Khan”, “Space Bear” and “Fractured Quantum”. Three of those songs are instrumentals. The filler is still there too: “Pain in the Neck”, “Too Many Faces”, “Foxy & Free” and so on.
The best of the bonus tracks is “Return of Space Bear”, previously only available by download (and then disappeared off iTunes). This is the first chance to get “Return of Space Bear” in any physical format, if you were lucky enough to get it at all. What is “Return of Space Bear”? Back on October 30 1979, Kiss did an appearance on the Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder. Ace was “pre-lubricated”, so to speak, and had a little teddy bear Ace with him, “the first space bear in captivity”. Gene Simmons tried to divert attention away from Ace, but a lovably drunk Frehley stole the show. “Return of Space Bear” is a version of the album track “Space Bear”, with Ace’s dialogue re-enacted and added in. Kiss fans will love it.
The other two extras are demos. “Hard For Me” is an early version of “Foxy & Free” with different lyrics. While less polished, the music is 100% intact and the demo is nice and lively. According to the new liner notes, the record company thought that “Hard For Me” was a bit too dirty, and so demanded new lyrics. Then there is a “slower” version of “Pain in the Neck”. It’s not drastically slower, but a little heavier.
Is it worth re-buying Anomaly just for the bonus tracks? Well, if you hated that weird fold-out box the original came in, then take note this version comes in a standard digipack (with nice embossed lettering).** Online, fans were more excited about the vinyl editions, including a lovely picture disc 2 LP set. Buying it again is justifiable if you haven’t already bought Anomaly, but difficult to do otherwise.*
* I bought it to beef up an Amazon order to qualify for free shipping.
** On this edition, Les Paul’s name was added to the “In memory of…” on the reverse. Presumably, when Les died in 2009, it was too late to add his name to the back.
COMPLETE FREHLEY REVIEWS
ACE FREHLEY – 12 Picks (1997 Megaforce Worldwide)
ACE FREHLEY – ACE FREHLEY (KISS solo album) (1978 Casblanca)
ACE FREHLEY – Anomaly (2009 version)
ACE FREHLEY – “Cherokee Boogie” (1996 Attic)
ACE FREHLEY – Frehley’s Comet (1987 Megaforce Worldwide)
FREHLEY’S COMET – Live + 1 (1988 Megaforce Worldwide)
ACE FREHLEY – Loaded Deck (1998 Megaforce Worldwide)
FREHLEY’S COMET – Milwaukee Live ’87 (radio broadcast CD)
ACE FREHLEY – Origins Vol. 1 (2016 eOne)
FREHLEY’S COMET – Second Sighting (1988 Megaforce Worldwide, 1998 reissue)
ACE FREHLEY – Space Invader (2014 E One/Victor Japan)
ACE FREHLEY – Trouble Walkin’ (1989 Megaforce Worldwide)
Return of the Comet – Tribute to ACE FREHLEY (1997 Shock Records)
Spacewalk – A Salute to ACE FREHLEY (1996 DeRock/Triage)