The Cold Stares' Heavy Shoes: infusing their blues with a dose of rock classicism

Heavy-blues duo The Cold Stares tread a new path on fourth album Heavy Shoes

The Cold Stares: Heavy Shoes
(Image: © Mascot)

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As evidenced by the duos that came along after The White Stripes – there’s The Black Keys, Left Lane Cruiser, King Mud and The Bonnevilles, for starters – the appeal of the blues shows no signs of diminishing, even if the size of band line-ups are. 

Ergo Indiana’s The Cold Stares. While their predecessors have rooted their respective works as much in punk rock as they have the Mississippi Delta, here singer/guitarist Chris Tapp and drummer Brian Mullins infuse their music with a greater sense of rock classicism. 

The result is a gloriously heavy album that carries as much weight sonically as it does lyrically. Heavy Shoes convinces with grinding, overdriven riffs and a rhythmic pounding designed to set the pace for the titular footwear. 

Elsewhere it’s hard not to believe Tapp when he intones: ‘I can’t pay my rent, I can’t even sleep at night/A black cat won’t cross my path and my chest is getting tight’ on Hard Times, while the spectral soul groove of In The Night Time captures the chill of the midnight hour.

Julian Marszalek

Julian Marszalek is the former Reviews Editor of The Blues Magazine. He has written about music for Music365, Yahoo! Music, The Quietus, The Guardian, NME and Shindig! among many others. As the Deputy Online News Editor at Xfm he revealed exclusively that Nick Cave’s second novel was on the way. During his two-decade career, he’s interviewed the likes of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Ozzy Osbourne, and has been ranted at by John Lydon. He’s also in the select group of music journalists to have actually got on with Lou Reed. Marszalek taught music journalism at Middlesex University and co-ran the genre-fluid Stow Festival in Walthamstow for six years.