Psychotic Supper


Geffen, 1991

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


When Tesla released their debut album Mechanical Resonance in 1986, they were, to this reviewer, a breath of fresh air in the world of hard rock. Their follow-up release, The Great Radio Controversy, didn't break any new ground for the band, and the overall result was that their sound began to stagnate.

Their third studio effort, Psychotic Supper, continues that downward spiral of stagnation, and is a surprisingly boring and bland album, with one notable exception.

It's not that vocalist Jeff Keith has lost any step, or the twin guitar attack of Frank Hammond and Tommy Skeoch is any less powerful. It's just that the songwriting is absolutely nothing special, and each subsequent song tends to blend in with the one the listener has just completed, resulting in the album becoming a mish-mash of half-assed riffs.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

From the opening track “Change In The Weather,” the listener is all but cautioned that they're in for more of the same old pabulum they were fed on The Great Radio Controversy, only this time the disc has not improved with age as its predecessor did. Songs like “Don't De-Rock Me,” “Freedom Slaves” and “Had Enough” all fall flat almost from the get-go.

Even the hit song off this one, “Call It What You Want,” doesn't really inspire the listener with any concept that Tesla was more than a one-shot deal.

No, wait… that's not really a fair statement. Even The Great Radio Controversy had more than one moment where the listener was reminded why they were excited by Tesla in the beginning. Too bad that “Call It What You Want” fails to live up to that watermark that the band had established for themselves.

In fact, the one true great song on the disc is one written in memory of a fellow musician – the late Steve Clark from Def Leppard. “Song And Emotion” captures the pain that Clark felt in his life, and how he was able to turn it off when he hit the stage with his fellow bandmates. It is one of those few tribute songs that excels at what it is supposed to to – and despite it being closer to a ballad, it remains the most powerful song on Psychotic Supper.

If only the disc had more moments like that one. Instead, the bulk of the album feels like these were songs that didn't make the cut for the two previous albums, which is a shame. And, frankly, I could have lived without the closing track “Toke About It,” which ain't a song about sharing your innermost feelings, I promise you.

If Mechanical Resonance was the feast of Tesla's career, then Psychotic Supper is a serving of leftovers from ingredients found at the 99-cent store. It is easily Tesla's weakest album to this point.

Rating: D+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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