Guest reviewer Tom Harte (Trucker Diablo) casts a critical eye over Tesla’s Simplicity, with a track-by-track analysis
Somehow Tesla has escaped my auditory tractor beam over the years, which is surprising because they definitely cruise down an avenue that I frequent. In light of that I’m not sure if that is a good thing or bad thing... anyway, onto the review.
The album kicks off with ‘MP3’ a mid-paced rocker that grooves along nicely, which flies the flag for the transition of technology in the music industry and driving forward the message of getting back to basics.
‘Ricochet’ celebrates the rock and roll lifestyle and rocks from start to finish. Tesla effortless spew out guitar harmonies and vocal melodies that can’t be ignored. ‘So Divine’ slows the pace a bit and kicks everything back into gear with a stadium sing-a-long chorus: love the guitars in this tune.
Jeff Keith’s raspy vocals could lend themselves to any ballad or hard rocker and in ‘Cross my Heart’ they shift into southern rock mode. This is my favourite on the album.
In ‘Honestly’ my previous vocal views are reinforced, as this ballad is the perfect song for a rainy night in when you’re looking out the window pondering life and your next move. Jeff’s vocals remind me of Raine Maida from Canadian rockers “Our Lady Peace” and I’d be interested to see if Raine was a fan.
‘Flipside’ and ‘Other Than Me’ continue the strength of the album onto the second half.
This is simple, great song writing by a great band, and if that’s what they were going for then they hit the nail on the head.
‘Break of Dawn’ kicks in with choppy riffs that is a definite head nodder…
I have to say ”Simplicity” has a great mix of acoustic tunes and hard rockers and you don’t feel yourself getting bored or clicking next, they seem to have a penchant for huge choruses, as a musician that’s something I strive for and they do it with ease.
There’s enough emotion and soul in the songs that make you fall in love with the songs even more. ‘Life is a River’ is another acoustic rocker with a hint of southern rock.
‘Sympathy’ pumps along, leading into a killer chorus, while ‘Time Bomb’ is explosive as the title and has a bit of a stoner riff to it and again another great chorus. The album closes with the melancholic ‘Til That Day’, which is perfect closer to a great album.
The album ends with a demo of ‘Burnout To Fade’: always great to hear the demo versions compared to the album-finished tracks
”Simplicity” is one of albums that won’t totally blow your mind but could easily fit into rotation for a roadtrip or a day lazing around the house. I will be certainly be checking out their back catalogue.
Tesla know their craft so well and seem to have earned their place in millions of hearts, and rightly so. Only one thing for it now... Repeat!
Review by Tom Harte
Sub-editing by Jonny