Released by: Universal Music Enterprises
Brian Wheat – Bass, backing vocals
Frank Hannon – Guitar, backing vocals
Jeff Keith – Vocals
Troy Luccektta – Drums
Dave Rude – Guitar, backing vocals
1. You Won’t Take Me Alive
2. Taste Like
3. We Can Rule The World
5. Love Is A Fire
6. California Summer Song
7. Forever Loving You
8. The Mission
9. Tied To The Tracks
11. I Want Everything
12. Comfort Zone
Sacramento CA-based Tesla was a bit of an anomaly when they hit the MTV airwaves in 1986 with “Modern Day Cowboy” the lead single from what would go on to be their platinum-selling debut “Mechanical Resonance”. At a time when almost every hard rock band of note was awash in eyeliner, hairspray, and spandex, Tesla was a bit of a throwback both visually and sonically. They’re stripped down jeans and t-shirt aesthetic & bluesy hard rock set them apart from their mid 80’s peers
Throughout the late ’80s and early 90’s the band racked up a string of gold and platinum discs on the strengths of hits like “Little Suzie”, “Love Song”, “The Way It Is”, “Edison’s Medicine”, “What You Give” and “Signs”. The aforementioned “Signs” and the live album “Five Man Acoustical Jam” helped usher in the UNPLUGGED craze of the 1990’s. While churning out the hits, Tesla cemented their live reputation opening for the like of Def Leppard, Motley Crue, David Lee Roth, and Alice copper, before going on hiatus in 1996.
Since reforming in 2000 Tesla have been a near constant fixture on the live music scene, be it headlining theaters on their own or as a frequent opener for Def Leppard. Their recorded output, while well received by fans and critics has been more sporadic, with their most recent output, “Simplicity”, having been released in 2014.
The band’s latest, “Shock”, sees longtime friend and Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen on board as producer and songwriting partner, a collaboration sure to polarize longtime fans, as Collen’s fingerprints are all over this album.
Sonically “Shock” is straight out of the Def Leppard playbook with its lush choruses and slick production, which remove the rootsy grit that one would normally associate with Tesla.
Vocalist Jeff Keith’s voice hasn’t aged a bit in the 33 years since “ the release of Mechanical Resonance”, and he and the rest of the band turn in fine performances here, but it’s just not enough to win me over. Without Keith’s vocals, one would have a hard time recognizing “Shock” as a Tesla release.
For those who may be big fans of both Tesla and Def Leppard, “Shock” may indeed be a match made in heaven and quite possibly your new favorite album, but I don’t see myself going back to this one often.
Written by: David Burke