Ace: Five-a-Side

FROM THE LOOK of its album cover, Ace is a band of five frustrated English football players who, like Rod Stewart, turned to music to compensate for their athletic shortcomings.

This quintet with semipro backgrounds proves to be master of the catchy melody and the natty hook. It has a benevolent addiction to lean instrumentation, seemingly well aware that virtuoso excursions would be both unnecessary and unsatisfactory.

In its trenchant songwriting and engaging harmony singing, Ace emulates a number of American bands with similar virtues. ‘Rock & Roll Runaway’ mimics the anguished singing of the Band, while ‘How Long’ revives the Philadelphia dynamics of Hall and Oates’s ‘She’s Gone’. Eventually, Ace may attain the unity of vision possessed by other bands against whom it may be measured, like Steely Dan and the Eagles. Meanwhile, this is an encouraging debut with many pleasant but minor songs, and at least two, ‘Time Ain’t Long’ and ‘How Long’ with immediate hit potential.

© Wayne RobinsRolling Stone, 8 May 1975

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