Universal [Release date 27.10.14]
US glam/hard rock legends Kiss celebrate their 40th anniversary with this 2CD remastered edition of their 6th studio album. Released in 1977, it was the 6th album in three years (four if you count the classic Alive double LP) and the band were working hard enough back then to record the Alive II album on the Love Gun tour.
Rightly considered a classic in its own right, it is also the last (full) studio album (until the reformation) to feature the original line-up of guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss (alongside bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons and guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley).
And before you shout Dynasty, Criss only appears on one track on that album. Love Gun was also the first album to feature lead vocals (on different tracks) from all four band members.
The album opens with ‘I Stole Your Love’, with a fast riff and a decent solo, Stanley’s distinctive vocals are good too. ‘Christine Sixteen’ is slightly more rock ’n’ roll and features legendary producer Eddie Kramer on piano.
‘Got Love For Sal’e is a great (if underplayed track), while ‘Shock Me’ (written and sung by Ace) is a stand out, and inspired by an electrocution he suffered on a previous tour. Reports exist that Ace played bass (not for the first or last time) and all guitars on this track.
‘Tomorrow And Tonight’ may not be a standout but it does show how solid and underrated much of this album (i.e. the non airplay stuff) is. A definite highlight is the title track, which has been a live staple ever since. The vocal layers and catchy chorus match the riffs.
Basically, in Kiss terms, and glam hard rock terms, the album is an undisputed classic.
The total running time could probably squeeze onto a single disc, but it’s nice to have the original album stand alone, and the bonus tracks on the second disc. These include several demos (some complete, early versions of songs, and others are works in progress), three 1977 live tracks and a six minute Gene interview. Much of these bonuses are new and exclusive too.
With new sleevenotes to boot, it’s a shame it’s one album and not the full catalogue, but it’s a damn good start. ****1/2
Review by Joe Geesin
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