Sacramento hard rockers Tesla were always outliers in the glam and pop metal scene of the late '80s. They had been experimenting with acoustic songs since their first album, 1986's Mechanical Resonance, and offered up a more honest and simply presented version of the era's blazing guitar anthems than their lipsticked, spandexed contemporaries. Despite a six-year break in the late '90s, they've also managed to stick around, releasing decent studio and live albums throughout the 2000s. Following 2011's Twisted Wires & the Acoustic Sessions album, they've pulled their amps out of storage and returned with a solid set of straight-ahead rockers and tasteful acoustic numbers on 2014's Simplicity. Just a year prior, they released the thrashing single "Taste My Pain," which strove to reclaim their heavier tendencies, overcompensating just a bit. But throughout Simplicity, Tesla focus on simple, well-executed songs and unencumbered, stripped-down production, as emphasized by standouts like "So Divine...," "Other Than Me," and the ballad "Life Is a River." Their mix of hard rock, blues, and occasional heartland flourishes on this collection should please fans, showing that their heads are still in the right place.
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AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger