(As published in Real Groove ... )
If you caught the Kiss reunion tour last year and paid attention, you know that Ace Frehley supplies the band's real osculatory muscle: Next to his power chords and showcase solos, Criss's beat is mere stamina, Simmons' and Stanley's fretwork pure plod. Twelve Picks is half studio best-of and half never-before-released live, and because the latter includes run-throughs of "Cold Gin," "Rocket Ride," and "Deuce," you might think it rocks and rolls all nite. It doesn't--the Comet's finer points get lost in arena acoustics, and there’s nary a "New York Groove" or a "2,000 Man" in sight. But the studio six wear their chrome hooks well and suggest that on a bigger label than Megaforce Frehley might've given Cinderella, White Lion, and Poison a run for their platinum. The best cut, "Trouble Walkin'," even packs a misheard lyric: "I am trouble walkin' / I am every mother's nightmare" sounds like "I have trouble walkin'" and is therefore almost certainly huge with Mothers Against Crippled Sons-in-Law.