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Released: 2014, Frontiers Records
Always unfairly lumped in with the hair band era, more by virtue of timing than style, the hard rockin’ Tesla has not only survived the death of many of their peers but thrived, to the point where the band has a hugely dedicated fan base, still capable of keeping the band in the spotlight (Proof: this album debuted in the Top 25 in North America, with ~14,000 copies sold in the first week). Part of the band’s success over the years has been the remarkable stability they’ve shown; with just one member change (Dave Rude taking over for original guitarist Tommy Skeoch). Another reason is the band’s steadfast commitment to their music, refusing to change or bend to trends.
That said, their previous two albums (INTO THE NOW and FOREVERMORE) heavied things up a bit too much so it’s a great satisfaction to me that the band has returned to their roots and released a record that would fit easily within the confines of their spectacular first four albums. Indeed, SIMPLICITY is chock full of the down-home guitar rock goodness this band is known for. Rockers, anthems, heartfelt ballads, it is all here and the band has never sounded better. Surprises include the swampy Lynyrd Skynyrd-like “Cross My Heart”, the bouncy “Flip Side!”, and the pure rocking of “Ricochet” and “Break of Dawn”, the likes of which hearken back to the band’s best heavy tracks like “Edison’s Medicine”. Add it all up and you easily get Tesla’s best album since the equally superb BUST A NUT twenty years ago.
There’s really nothing more to say; SIMPLICITY is a triumph of hard rock pedigree and a testament to the fact that a band can stick to its guns, ignore trends, and still be successful. Long live Tesla!
3. Rise and Fall
4. So Divine
5. Cross My Heart
7. Flip Side!
8. Other Than Me
9. Break of Dawn
10. Burnout to Fade
11. Life is a River
13. Time Bomb
14. ‘Til That Day
Jeff Keith: Vocals
Frank Hannon: Guitar, Vocals, Piano, Bass
Dave Rude: Guitar, Bass, Vocals
Brian Wheat: Bass, Vocals, Piano
Troy Luccketta: Drums, Percussion