Frehley’s Comet – “Second Sighting” (1988)

Frehley's CometI think we can all agree (with the benefit of hindsight) that Ace Frehley was (and is) the coolest and most lovable of the original KISS members.  The way he seems to cluelessly fumble through life and yet somehow land on his feet makes him an endearing character and someone you want to root for.  He famously never took a guitar lesson (and can’t read music) yet still became one of the most beloved guitarists of the seventies.  He also can’t sing worth a damn but he’s pulled off some real gems like New York Groove and Rock Soldiers with his signature laid-back vocal style.

After leaving KISS, Ace disappeared for a few years before returning with 1987’s Frehley’s Comet — an excellent album.  The not-so-secret weapon on Frehley’s Comet was Tod Howarth.  Even though I hate the fact that he spells his first name with only one “d”, Howarth’s contributions to the band really helped make the record a well-rounded platter.  Howarth wrote some songs, sang about half the tunes, and also played guitar and keyboards on Frehley’s Comet.  He was the ying to Ace’s yang.

After the stop-gap live EP called Live + 1, Frehley’s Comet returned in 1988 with the proper follow-up to their 1987 debut.  Second Sighting was said to be a rushed effort and one the band wasn’t entirely happy with.  Again, Frehley and Howarth split singing and song-writing duties.  Their writing styles were very different.  It seemed to work well on the first album but not so much on Second Sighting for some reason.  Perhaps if the two had collaborated more instead of writing separately the album would have been a little stronger?  Nevertheless, the album has its moments.  Lead track Insane is probably the most fleshed-out of the Ace contributions — it has a great lead riff and a decent hook.  But my absolute favorite song on the album is actually Separate.  This is another Ace song that seems like it was written in about nine minutes, yet it just sticks in my brain.  I love the simple (but effective) palm-muted verse riff as well as the neanderthal drum beat.  The chorus is memorable, too — even though the lyrics are half-assed.  Second Sighting ends with a tune called The Acorn Is Spinning.  This is mostly an instrumental but has some spoken word sections (about a boxer taking a dive in a prize-fight).  What I love about the spoken word parts is Ace’s thick New York accent!  You can take the kid out of The Bronx but you can’t take The Bronx out of the kid!  My score: B

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