Reviews Brief: Willie Nile, Fire Tiger, Ace Frehley

DaveTDaveT Buenos Aires, Argentina
edited October 2020 in year-2020

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Willie Nile ‎– 2020 New York At Night

River House Records
Born in his mind as he was walking around Times Square to catch a subway (I can almost picture him at 42 Street station corridors), this is the 13th studio album by the singer/songwriter born as Robert Noonan in Buffalo, NY and now a longtime New York City, Greenwich Village resident. Most important, 'New York At Night' is a fantastic Americana-style classic rock album dedicated to the Big Apple.

Nile sounds fresh and young at 72 years old, with a bit of raspiness that adds nothing but appeal to his voice. Backed by a solid band, the singer, a contemporary to NY's Punk pioneers and whose first solo release dates back to 1980, delights us right from the energetic twelve-bar blues opener 'New York Is Rockin' and through the hard boogie of 'The Backstreet Slide' and 'The Fool Who Drank The Ocean'.

His American Punk roots are well pictured in the title track and 'Surrender The Moon', both with power and melody. Songs like the shiny, funky 'A Little Bit Of Love', 'Doors Of Paradise' and closer 'Run Free' are reminiscent of Tom Petty while the pair of the acoustic 'Under This Roof' and the gorgeous piano ballad 'The Last Time We Made Love' show the tender side of the artist.

Give Willie Nile a chance if you are looking for quality classic rock made in 2020. All songs on this 45-minute-long album go recommended.



Fire Tiger - All The Time

Fire Tiger Music
Third album for the LA band led by Tiff Alkoury that continues to put smiles on the faces of fans of breezy pop for the current times.

'All The Time' has not shocked me as the previous 2018's 'Suddenly Heavenly' mainly because there's less rockers and the guitars are not as prominent this time. However, I think this is a step forward in the personality department, as the band sounds confident and convincing, one step further in their very personal style.

All twelve songs are direct, concise and most of them around three minutes long. The rocking start with 'Don't Take Me Home' recalls the preceding album while the vital pop of 'So Many Fishes' and the sparkly 'Magical Brew' catch the listener's attention.

As for the rest of the songs, I'd like to mention the title track for its good guitar/keys interplay, 'Flying Solo' (that even includes bagpipes), the fantastic Ethnic/Latin Pop that is ''Solo Poquito' in which they channel Miami Sound Machine and ABBA a la 'Happy Hawaii', and the fresh rocker 'Way To My Heart'.

In summary, a good album, not as immediate as their sophomore yet highly enjoyable from a band with a strong identity.



Ace Frehley ‎– 2020 Origins Vol.2

eOne Music
Now this is a tough one. The first 2016's 'Origins Vol.1' was a strong release in my book while 2018's Ace solo album 'Spaceman' sounded like a tired effort to these ears. 'Origins Vol. 2' is the second cover songs collection from Space Ace.

Let's start with the pros, shall we? Zepp's 'Good Times Bad Times' is a solid start in full Ace's style.

Deep Purple's 'Space Truckin' (with its funny accompanying music video) is a great condensed version as Ace has proven he's able to deliver as he did with '2,000 Man' for 'Dynasty' fueled by Rob Sabino's organ, while Humble Pie's '30 Days In The Hole' hugely benefits from Robin Zander's vocals.

Time for the cons. Neither Lita Ford nor Bruce Kulick as guests could save the shortcomings of The Rolling Stones's 'Jumpin' Jack Flash' and Hendrix's 'Manic Depression' versions, respectively. The Kinks's 'Lola' with backing vocals courtesy of Ace's current girlfriend Lara Cove is frankly boring.

Moreover, who needs more new cover versions of the likes of the Fab Four from Liverpool's 'I'm Down', Cream's 'Politician' or The Animals's 'We Gotta Get Out Of This Place'?

The bonus track, Kiss's 'She' finds Ace doing a good job, but at the same time it proves how groovy the rhythm section of Peter Criss and Gene Simmons was and how tight as a rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley was as well. All three are sorely missed on this version, as are Simmons's vocals.

The remaining songs are 'Never In My Life' (Mountain) and 'Kicks' (Paul Revere & The Raiders). The production does not help either, as the compression that gives the illusion of energetic performances and the use of AutoTune are excessive.

Because of the song selection, performances and overall sound, I cannot say I enjoyed much of 'Origins Vol.2' as I did with Vol.1. On a side note, there's seven different vinyl variants and two different CD releases to choose from.


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    ExplorerExplorer England
    edited October 2020
    Willie Nile was once touted as the new Bruce Springsteen back in the day. For trivia fans Hirsh from New England mixed his 'House Of A Thousand Guitars' album...strange, but true, and the Fire Tiger has a Scandal vibe about it. Nice review Dave.
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