ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 3, 2008
By Steve Newton
I’ve always argued that KISS’s best album was its self-titled 1974 debut, and that musically the band went downhill from there. For those who disagree, there’s IKONS.
In an obvious effort to squeeze a few more bucks out of the American glam-rock quartet’s extensive catalogue, this slimly packaged four-disc set groups the material according to each of its members’ comic-book personas—the Demon (Gene Simmons), the Star Child (Paul Stanley), Space Ace (Ace Frehley), and the Cat Man (Peter Criss)—and also by whoever sang lead on a particular song. So the Frehley-written booze epic “Cold Gin” is included on the Demon disc because Simmons sang it, and the Stanley-penned pop ditty “Hard Luck Woman” falls under the Cat Man category because Criss did the crooning.
The mighty KISS marketing machine pulls off yet another fast one!
The impressive early KISS stuff like “Strutter”, “Deuce”, and “Black Diamond” is included, of course, but so is some of the substandard material from the solo albums each member released simultaneously in 1978. Particularly painful are Criss’s desperate efforts to recreate the success of the gentle blockbuster “Beth” via sappy, string-drenched ballads, including two on his solo effort and one on KISS’s last studio album, the Bruce Fairbairn–produced Psycho Circus of ’98.
All three are featured here for your listening displeasure.
Frehley’s album is widely considered the best of the four solo discs, so it’s no surprise that IKONS boasts five tracks from it. The egotistical, full-of-themselves Simmons and Stanley only had one track each included from their much-maligned solo disasters.
Good guy Ace wins again!