Fireworks

Tesla - 'Simplicity' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     May 15, 2014    
 
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Tesla are well and truly back in the game.

It's been about a six year wait, but Tesla have finally got around to recording an all-new studio album (only their seventh in a near thirty year recording career) - the follow-up, if you like, to their stunningly excellent and heavy 'Forever More' opus. Since then, they've treated us to the 'Alive In Europe!' (2010) and 'Twisted Wires (& The Acoustic Sessions)' (2011) albums that filled a gap but kept reminding us of what a superb band they've always been, with just a handful of new songs thrown into the mix like a taster before the main course.

Featuring the same five musicians that played on the last album, 'Simplicity' is a real "return to their roots" record that may surprise a lot of their long-term fans. How much of that is down to the mixed reception they got to 'Forever...' and how much is down to a real desire to reconnect with their Southern Sacramento heritage is open to debate. The fact that last year's stand-alone digital single release 'Taste My Pain' (a heavy modern styled curveball) which was originally scheduled to be on 'Simplicity' but ultimately didn't make the cut suggests the latter.

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With four of the five band members who recorded the debut 'Mechanical Resonance' back in 1986 still going strong (but with three of them in their 50s now), it wouldn't be an obvious push to keep getting heavier but that's not to say there aren't some heavy songs on the album. 'Richochet' (about playing live and also possibly an ode to "Uncle" Ted Nugent) is a heavy urgent Rocker that has Frank Hannon blazing away on the solo and one 'Break Of Dawn' (of my personal faves ) with the much younger Dave Rude laying down some serious heavy riffage knock that notion out of the ball park. 'Sympathy' and 'Time Bomb' also up the ante yet all the while retaining that authentic Tesla sound with melody and Jeff Keith's unique raspy vocals telling the story in his own inimitable style.

Throughout the album, drummer Troy Luccketta and bassist Brian Wheat weld the rhythms together in a seriously tight display of musicianship whilst Rude and Hannon combine with fabulous displays of riffs, licks and acoustic tonality embellished with shredding solos from Hannon that are just the right length of tasty and never out of place, sitting astride the songs with an air of accomplishment.

The opening track 'MP3' is the signifying piece that encompasses the whole album, a brooding Rocker with Keith elaborating on the story of technology taking over people's lives and wishing to get back to simpler times; "We've got to get back to simplicity, all the world is out of touch with reality". Along with the excellent acoustic-led 'Burnout To Fade', the Countrified 'Cross My Heart' and the typical Southern-tinged Rocker 'So Divine' that they do so well, Tesla are well and truly back in the game!

Carl Buxton

(review taken from the upcoming issue 64 of Fireworks Magazine)

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