Ace: Time For Another (Anchor) 40 mins****

FOLLOWING THEIR debut vinyl effort Five A Side and the immense success of ‘How Long’, both here and in America, it certainly is “Time For Another”. Yet it’s an older and wiser Ace, who have made this second album, thankfully restraining themselves from commercial ego trips to realise their potential as a tight rocking British band who never disguise their American influences.

For the last half of this year, Ace have been working solidly in America dutifully playing the one night stand concert and interview game. The results paid off handsomely but have left their mark. Most of the lyrics to Time For Another are tinged with a slightly disillusioned cynicism for the music business, yet the band remains optimistic. Paul Carrack reminds the band and himself that now’s the time for ‘pulling together and finding each other again’ in ‘I Think It’s Gonna Last’. While Bam King’s low profile burst of rocking in ‘I’m A Man’ continues this on-the-road theme, detailing the repercussions, “I been working like a dog, soon I’m goona break/People tell me I won’t get another chance to take.’ Ace seem painfully aware of their dangerous position, determined to make early success work for their advantage.

On the strength of Time For Another they will succeed. Despite the fact that some of the material is only average, and that nothing grabs you as instantly as ‘How Long’, the album continues a development of the Ace sound. With harmonic vocals and well disciplined lead guitar breaks, Ace are distinctive without being repetitive. Up tempo songs like ‘Message To You’ and the jam-like ‘You Can’t Lose’ are variations on funky riffs. Or there’s the frustration of ‘Tongue Tied’ and the country flavour of ‘Does It Hurt You’.

Ace have moved quickly up the ladder of success in a very short space of time, and more than anyone else, they seem acutely aware of not burning themselves out too quickly. Time for Another is a good, solid album. Their next effort has to be great.

© Barbara CharoneSounds, 29 November 1975

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