Title - 'Simplicity'
Artist - Tesla
Sacramento hard rockers Tesla were always outliers in the glam and pop metal scene of the late '80s. Indeed, they have been experimenting with acoustic songs since their first album, 1986's Mechanical Resonance, a sound that proffered a more honest, a more simplistic version of the era's blazing guitar anthems.
Their brand new album, Simplicity - released this past June, 2014 on the Tesla Electric label is a return to form and brings together nearly all the band’s original line-up re: lead vocalist Jeff Keith, guitarists Frank Hannon and Dave Rude, bassist Brian Wheat, and drummer Troy Luccketta.
The album opens with the familiar sounds - to those of a certain age - crackles of a needle hitting a vinyl record before thundering into ‘MP3.’ A song that begs for the world to get back to the simplicity of a time when vinyl ruled the airwaves it showcases the raw vocal depth of Jeff Keith perfectly. Weather worn through time, it sounds like old leather than just got oiled up for a new customer! ‘Ricochet’ is next and aside from letting all the Tesla fans know the band are back to rock even includes a shout out to “Uncle” Ted Nugent!
The slow crawl of both ‘Rise And Fall’ and the first single off the new album ‘So Divine’ are next, but it’s the ‘80s mid-tempo hair ballad of ‘Cross My Heart’ that provides one of the true highlights on this new album. Another stab, at first, at a ballad on the album, ‘Honestly’ is another real treat, before the uber catchy ‘Flip Side!’ comes barreling out of the musical gun. The lowbrow ‘Other Than Me’ is next with the bucking crazy ‘Break Of Dawn’ following along close behind.
‘Burnout to Fade’ is next, with the lazy flowing river sound of, well, ‘Life is a River’ and then the guitar riffs and solos incorporated on both ‘Sympathy’ and ‘Time Bomb.’ The only real hair ballad on Simplicity comes in the form of ‘Til That Day,’ and is the final track on the regular album. The two additional tracks on this deluxe version are ‘Burnout to Fade (Writing Demo Version)’ and then finally ‘Honestly (Writing Demo Version).’
Simplicity most certainly, maybe in this current musical climate astoundingly marks the return to some great, real, honest music to our ears. Fans of Tesla, fans of old 80’s rock bands, fans of God’s honest rock ’n roll will all love and appreciate their home grown roots on show here from one of America's true rock and roll bands.
Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk