TESLA – Mechanical Resonance [Japan SHM-CD remastered] Out Of Print
“Mechanical Resonance” is the cracking debut album by TESLA, reissued in Japan on SHM-CD in remastered form. This was the only, Limited Release of the first 5 Tesla albums on SHM-CD now out of print and fetching high prices on eBay.
Tesla came out of the gates with everything in its right place: a major label (Geffen), great producers (Thompson & Barbiero) and the best management you could ask for (Q Prime). The band were and are all top drawer musicians, and they had a batch of killer rootsy hard rock ready to record. Ready, set, go!
When Tesla’s debut “Mechanical Resonance” was released in December 1986, it made a major impact among the dominating glammy hard rock scene.
Of course with the typical, glossy and ‘big’ production of the era, but much musically more ‘classic rock’ oriented, with a bluesy spirit.
Tesla have never done anything wimpy. Whatever they do, they inject muscle into, even the ballads.
“EZ Come EZ Go”, the opening salvo, is surprisingly tough for the era. Starting dark and ominous, it only takes a verse before it turns to scorch mode. Singer Jeff “JK” Keith proved his versatility immediately on this track. From whimpering tones to belting at the top of the lungs, JK did it with rasp and incredible lung power. Backing him are the underrated guitar duo of Frankie Hannon and Tommy Skeoch, a six-string tag team to rival the big boys.
“Cumin’ Atcha Live” starts with Van Halen-esque blitzing, except with two guitarists instead of one, fretboards ablaze. Tesla were known as one of the “nice guys” bands of rock, in contrast to bad boys like Motley Crue. Troy Luccketta is a drummer with a recognizable style, you can hear it in the way he rides the cymbals.
The album generated quite a few single/videos, and “Gettin’ Better” was an easy selection. The mellow, ballady (but soulful) opening is just a feint. This turns into a good time rocker in no time.
“2 Late 4 Love” is not a Def Leppard song, nor Prince. It is however pure hard rock. With a Motley chug and a Dokken vibe, it’s not really representative of where Tesla was headed, but it’s good enough. “Rock Me To the Top” occupies a similar chug with high quality results.
The slow, bluesy number (whick picks up at the ending) “We’re No Good Together” is designed for Jeff Keith vocals to shine, especially for the slow, soulful parts. What a singer!
“Modern Day Cowboy” is one of Tesla’s trademark tunes today, with its smoking riffs and killer acoustics, then
“Changes” is a great, heavy ballad with loads of guitars and tasteful keys too. I don’t even think I should be calling this a ballad. It burns rubber like there’s no tomorrow when it’s time for it.
Since this time, Tesla have become known for performing some amazing covers, both hits and obscure. “Little Suzi” is the first, and I’d never heard of the band Ph.D. of whom this is a cover. Even if I had, Tesla’s version of the song is diametrically opposed to the dramatic synthpop original, which was titled “Little Suzi’s on the Up”. Tesla do it as a bonfire acoustic/electric rocker complete with a pretty acoustic intro. It is instantly likeable. Bon Jovi once said “the way to tell if a song is good is to see if it works acoustically.” If that is true, then Tesla have proven this of “Little Suzi”.
Similarly upbeat and irresistible is “Love Me”, featuring a juicy talkbox solo by Tommy Skeoch. The song has a nice big riff and plenty of hooks to go around.
“Cover Queen” is a smoky rocker with ammunition to spare, but it is “Before My Eyes” the tour de force on the album. It’s risky to close a record with a slow, trippy long bomber (5:31, longest on the album). “Before My Eyes” is not an instant love, but over time it grows and grows. The psychedelic voices at the end can be heard to be saying “Is it a dream?” over and over, very trippy indeed! Awesome track.
“Mechanical Resonance” brought into the ’80s US Hard Rock scene one of the most distinctive – and best – bands of the era, which continue creating excellent nowadays.
This Japanese remaster on SHM-CD sounds incredible. Certainly these Tesla albums on this format need an urgent re-release / re-print. I seen used copies of this one on eBay for over $150.
Classic Album – A MUST HAVE
Universal Japan ~ UICY-94113 【ＬＴＤ ＳＨＭ－ＣＤ】
Ｔ Ｅ Ｓ Ｌ Ａ 『メカニカル・レゾナンス』
01 – Ez Come Ez Go
02 – Cummin’ Atcha Live
03 – Gettin’ Better
04 – 2 Late 4 Love
05 – Rock Me To The Top
06 – We’re No Good Together
07 – Modern Day Cowboy
08 – Changes
09 – Little Suzi
10 – Love Me
11 – Cover Queen
12 – Before My Eyes
Jeff Keith – lead vocals
Frank Hannon – guitars, keyboards, mandolin, backing vocals
Tommy Skeoch – guitars, backing vocals
Brian Wheat – bass, backing vocals
Troy Luccketta – drums, percussion
Out Of Print