RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Tesla – Simplicity

Rating: B+

Tesla, more so than any other band from their era, is lumped in with the spandex wearing, hair-poofing, watered down rock of the late 1980s.  What a shame, damn near a crime, as this band is nothing more than a classic ‘70s hard rock band born ten years too late. 

From the opening notes of “Modern Day Cowboy” to the music on their latest release, Simplicity, this band is all about rock and roll.  Sure, they attracted the girls, but don’t be fooled, just because they sang the occasional ballad means nothing.  They have a soft side…so do Zeppelin and so does Black Sabbath – ever hear “Changes”?  Cuddly tunes aside, Tesla are a f-ing rock band that are kicking ass and taking names in 2014, in fact, with Simplicity, they take it all back home.  They are not trying to be modern, or relevant, or even popular.  Nope, they are simply interested in being Tesla…the rock band. 

While vocalist Jeff Keith’s vocals have always been rough and raw, he snags and snarls more than ever on Simplicity.  If there is one drawback on this album, that’s it.  It’s not bad…but Jeff, if you’re still puffing on the cigs you might wanna cut back lest we see you on a commercial one day!  Jeff’s still got it, but we want him to keep it! 

The rest of the album…i.e. the music…is simply outta this world.  The rhythm section of drummer Troy Luccketta and bassist Brian Wheat holds this sucker steady.  Guitarist Dave Rude is solid as well, but it is Tesla guitarist Frank Hannon who shines on this sucker.  His playing is rock solid and his soloing shows that he may be one of the most underrated players in history when it comes to getting the respect he deserves.

There is not a bad track on Simplicity.  “MP3” has the classic Tesla feel, while “So Divine…” has a great hook and catchy chorus.  “Ricochet” may be the best of the bunch, as it celebrates hard rock to the point that Keith even name checks Ted Nugent in the song’s lyrics. 

Tesla may have pushed the envelope with Forevermore and Into the Now.  In hindsight, they appear to have been trying to mesh the classic Tesla sound with the modern day.  Now, with Simplicity, they seem to be comfortable in their own skin.  The result is the best album they have put out since reforming. 

Ah sweet Simplicity! This one is way worth the money. 

Track Listing:
Rise and Fall
So Divine...
Cross My Heart
Flip Side
Other Than Me
Break of Dawn
Burnout to Fade
Life is a River
Time Bomb
'Till That Day

By Jeb Wright