When I think of Tesla, Mechanical Resonance and Five Man Acoustical Jam instantly spring to mind. I have been a big fan of most of the bands output through the years, but I have loved those to death.
Currently in their fourth decade as a band, albeit with a few line up changes along way, Tesla have released a pretty decent album in Shock. One that sounds huge, has brilliant production, and the kind of song writing that a lot of bands could learn from.
Produced by Phil Collen of Def Leppard fame, who was also heavily involved in the writing process, it’s fair to say that comparison with Def Leppards sound is going to be something that comes up again and again. And it’s justified, with a lot of elements here having been pulled straight from the Leppard play book. Huge choruses, gang backing vocals, even Jeff Keith’s phrasing is reminiscent of Joe Elliot.
But don’t let that turn you off (why would it? Def Leppard are awesome!). Shock really is a good album from beginning to end, and at only 44 minutes long, it’s a relatively easy listen.
You Won’t Take Me Alive kicks things off with a fun, almost pop rock sort of vibe. Taste Like is a perfect radio rock track, and the first major sign of Phil Collens influence.
We Can Rule the World is a big ballad that is really worth a listen for Jeff Keith’s vocals alone. He still sounds as phenomenal in 2019 as he did in 1986.
The title track is the first huge rock song to appear in this collection. It’s subdued during the verses, and fires up with a stomping chorus, which will be a live favourite for sure. Love is a Fire is ballad number two, and in my opinion, should have had a higher placement in the running order. It’s a really well written song, and features some great blues style guitar licks.
California Summer Song is my least favourite track of the album. It instantly reminds me of Kid Rock, and while not entirely horrible, I just can’t shake the thought of Kid Rock. There is some more great bluesy guitar riffs on offer though.
Forever Loving You is yet another ballad, which could have easily been left off the album. It’s followed by The Mission which rates as my favourite track. It’s massive, it seems to have less studio polish on it, and sounds more like Tesla from 1986 to my ears.
Tied to the Tracks is another rocker, with more of that ‘86 flavour. Afterlife is not bad for what it is, which is almost country rock, while I Want Everything is the bastard son of KISS and Cheap Trick.
Comfort Zone closes out the album, and sounds more like Def Leppard than anything else on the record. It’s good though, and a decent album closer.
Ultimately, while Shock is a pretty good listen from start to finish, I would have dropped three or maybe even four songs from the list, and although it would have been a significantly shorter record, it would have been great rather than decent.