Sunday sees rushonrock preview the week’s best new releases and there’s only one record you really must buy tomorrow. It’s by Tesla and it’s called Forever More. It also happens to be the best album we’ve heard in 2008 and this week we’ll be catching up with axe mastro Frank Hannon to get the insider’s view on a modern classic.
Once in a while a band produces a landmark release which marks them out as true leaders in their genre. Yet it is rare that it takes the best part of 25 years and around 16 million album sales to reach that point.
In Tesla’s case that’s exactly what’s happened with the truly sensational Forever More. All 12 tracks ooze classic rock quality – taking the best bits from the band’s mightily impressive back catalogue to underpin a new record which sets fresh standards in 2008. Back in the 80s Tesla were good, in the early 90s they were even better and nearly a decade into the 21st century they have matured into one of America’s mightiest exports.
So what makes Forever More forever relevant? Mixing powerful rockers with evocative ballads, raw emotion with political poignancy, there is something for everyone on this remarkable collection of a dozen dynamic tunes. But that’s not to say Jeff Keith and Frank Hannon have attempted some kind of compromise to appeal to all. Far from it. Tesla have stayed true to their trademark sound while developing a polished production often lacking in the early years.
So What should become a chart-busting anthem which would comfortably sit alongside anything from Slippery When Wet, Hysteria or any number of 80s hard rock classics. It probably won’t but that’s not Tesla’s problem. Their biggest challenge is getting this record heard by the rock buying public at large.
Strangley, Forever More and I Wanna Live, the album’s opening two songs, fade faster from the memory than the 10 songs which follow. That’s not to say they’re bad. Not at all. It’s just this is a record which gains in momentum and takes hold of your senses with each fresh tune. By the time you’re listening to Fallin Apart and Breaking Free you find yourself completely immersed in hook-laden heaven and it’s no lie to say we’ve put the mid-section of Forever More on repeat every day for the past fortnight.
Perhaps the best of the lot – and that’s some accolade on this amazing body of work – is Pvt. Leadbetter. Paying homage to US troops and their families, this is right up there with Tesla’s finest work and has even made the rushonrock team reassess its opinion that Song And Emotion would never be bettered.
Whack this on your Christmas list, demand your local record shop stocks it in bulk and bang on about Forever More to every rock fan you meet. This should take Tesla to the next level. Here’s hoping.
rushonrock rated: 10/10 Keith And Co. Come Of Age
It seems like a lifetime ago that quirky disco rockers Electric Six unleashed High Voltage and Gay Bar on the British public and became instant pop heroes beloved of Radio 1 listeners and Kerrang! readers alike.
Many of you may be surprised to know that this band of super troopers are still going strong. Or at least still going. And Flashy is a fine example of why even the most maligned of acts should never give up.
Kicking off with Gay Bar 2 might not be the best way of proving your critics wrong. But aside from this clumsy nod to the past there’s enough new material here to force a timely reappraisal of the ‘Six. First single Formula 409 is actually better than anything by the band that’s charted in the past and acoustic pop classic Watching Evil Empires Fall Apart is brilliant.
Electric Six are no longer novel. And they were never original. But this fifth studio album at least proves that they are a band which can still pen catchy pop rock tunes. And that can’t be a bad thing.
rushonrock rated: 6/10 Six Packs Punch
rushonrock is not the natural home for a review of a record which pushes the boundaries and refuses to be pigeon holed. But we liked the unique sound of this special artists so much that it was impossible to keep Home a secret.
Maple Bee has performed in cult rock faves Queenadreena, starred with the Mediaeval Babes and fronted Vertigo Angels during a prolific and varied career. But it is as a solo artist that she appears most comfortable and most ambitious. Right now it’s difficult to imagine one of rock’s stronger personalities reverting back to the restrictive environment of a band.
Opening tune While You Were Sleeping sets the atmospheric tone and the edgy This Face This Name reminds us it’s impossible to take anything for granted where the Bee is concerned. Simon Gogerly’s mixing (the man has fine-tuned U2, Gwen Stefani and Underworld in the past) suits Bee to a tee and Home could be a real grower in 2009.
rushonrock rated: 7/10 Bee Stings Opposition