Thirty years ago, I heard the debut album from a Sacramento band that really changed the way I listened to music. Tesla's Mechanical Resonance remains a touchstone for me, a reminder of how just a few tweaks can turn a tired sound into something revolutionary. And yeah, two years of touring with Def Leppard turned Tesla into something like Lepp Lite, but that first album is still amazing.
The most interesting thing about American Killers is how the boys manage to stir up a bunch of antique sounds and make them sound modern. There's nothing here that I couldn't have heard 25 years ago, and yet I still can't keep my heart from leaping out of my chest. Intellectually, I understand that this is something of a dead end. But I just can't resist the adrenaline.
Can they make an album that lives up to this? Will American Killers evolve into something more conventional (at least in the modern sense)? Those are questions for another day. Right now I'm turning this one up to . . . twelve, at least. Time to go exercise my hair some more.
return to A&A home page