Tesla – “Simplicity” (Frontiers Records)
If you’re a fan of kick ass hard rock then look no further – Tesla is back! After 2011’s mostly acoustic “Twisted Wires and the Acoustic Sessions”, Tesla have returned to what they do best: catchy, uncomplicated American hard rock that pulses soul n energy through its veins and sold them 14 million albums worldwide. Still with most of their original lineup consisting of vocalist Jeff Keith, guitarist Frank Hannon, bassist Brian Wheat, and drummer Troy Luccketta, the band went back into the studio after a string of US shows last year, and came out with a new album that goes straight back to their legendary 90s roots. Besides songs that resonate true to the album’s title, I love the sound by legendary Michael Wagener – crystal clear so you can hear the pulse of each instrument sounding like a heart beat – the perfect mix for Tesla’s pure American rock spirit! “Simplicity” is 15 tracks of just that, ranging from tearful acoustics like ‘Life Is A River’ to harmonica rock n roll shakers like ‘Flip Side’ to stadium reducing power rockers like ‘Break Of Dawn’ to soulful guitar driven ballads like ‘Burnout To Fade’ to groove rockers like ‘MP3’ to the sass n style of ‘Ricochet’ – honestly, this feels like a compendium of the best of American hard rock as written to perfection! Tesla’s talent is still there and recognisable whether it’s in Keith’s slighty throaty but still cheeky vocals, the solid backbone rhythm of Wheat n Luccketta, and not forgetting the amazing dual guitars of Hannon and Rude, crunching, wailing and crankin’ some of the most addictive and moving American melodies on this side of the planet. In an increasingly virtual and artificial world it’s great to see some folks haven’t forgotten the best of mom’s cooking – thank you Tesla.