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Tesla

Real to Reel

(Ryko; US: 5 Jun 2007; UK: 2 Jul 2007)

Look, I like hitting a bar and listening to a band of 40-year-olds crank out old classic rock tunes as much as anyone. Would I buy a CD of it, though? Not on your life! And maybe that’s why I’m just not feeling Tesla’s latest release, a cover album called Real to Real. I mean, sure, the band from the ‘80s that should have been from the ‘70s making an album in the ‘00s, on analog equipment no less? It should be a surefire hit, but…it’s just not. Maybe it’s the utterly flat sound to the album; the bass guitar spends an awful lot of time doubling the guitars, and the guitars just don’t sound big and beefy enough to make any sort of impact. On a technical level, the playing itself sounds fine, and some of the solos are even a little bit impressive, but nothing that’ll get your heart beating faster. And as for the execution of the songs themselves, well…they’re just adequate. The first single is a version of Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You” that’s just close enough to the original to piss me off when they deviate from it. The Beatles are here (“I’ve Got a Feeling”), The Temptations are here (“Ball of Confusion”), and The Stones are here (“Honky Tonk Woman”), and they all get run through the Tesla filter in a way that makes them sound like what hair metal would sound like if it was called hair metal in the ‘70s. We enjoy the bar bands because we’ve had a couple of drinks, we’re around friends, and the lead singer dresses like Steven Tyler taking dietary advice from Meat Loaf. You just can’t get that from a little round slab of plastic, and left to its own devices, the music just ain’t the same. Go see ‘em live—they’re a blast, I’m sure—just don’t bother buying an album that’s more of a morning after than a night out.

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Mike Schiller is a software engineer in Buffalo, NY who enjoys filling the free time he finds with media of any sort -- music, movies, and lately, video games. Stepping into the role of PopMatters Multimedia editor in 2006 after having written music and game reviews for two years previous, he has renewed his passion for gaming to levels not seen since his fondly-remembered college days of ethernet-enabled dorm rooms and all-night Goldeneye marathons. His three children unconditionally approve of their father's most recent set of obsessions.


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