The Cold Stares – Heavy Shoes (Mascot Records)

Rival Sons. The Graveltones. Graveyard, even.

All three and more are a reference point for The Cold Stares.

Garage, stoner and Southern rock make their presence felt.

But for Heavy Shoes think heavy blues.

Chris Tapp and Bryan Mullins have been going about their business for a decade or more.

And on this evidence, business is good.

This is an album that’s as heavy lyrically as it’s dense sonically.

There’s neither a note rushed nor a word wasted.

Heavy Shoes or heavy hearts?

It’s hard to tell as two rock and roll warriors battle past demons and an uncertain future.

But this affecting duo’s collective pain is music’s gain.

Heavy Shoes kicks the opposition into touch. And then some.

Hard Times for The Cold Stares

Tapp and Mullins teased Heavy Shoes with bad luck story Hard Times.

And April’s lead single is the perfect entry point to a riveting record.

This isn’t background music for the late summer barbecue.

You can’t pick and choose with Heavy Shoes.

Its inherent intensity demands complete commitment. 

Immerse yourself in this angst-ridden album and it’s impossible to walk away.

Brooding standout Take The Body From Me is like Free and Skynyrd turned up to 11.

The simmering juxtaposition of Southern rock and rootsy blues is utterly addictive.

Heavy riffs and a hefty subject matter drive the deliciously dark 42 Dead Men.

And there’s more than a hint of The Doors as The Night Time gathers pace.

The Cold Stares are on a hot streak.

Two men who mean what they say and say what they mean.

It’s a recipe for rock and roll redemption.

Heavy Shoes is worth the weight

Given the band’s back story it’s no surprise Heavy Shoes is a weighty affair.

And if you’re looking for a one-size-fits all record then this isn’t it.

Tapp was diagnosed with stage three cancer in 2009 and told he had six months to live.

But 12 years down the line this is the sound of glorious defiance and steely determination.

As a songwriting partnership Tapp and Mullins don’t hold back.

And as firm friends they have each other’s backs.

That unbreakable bond and sense of unity is the beating heart of Heavy Shoes.

Sure, this is a band that borrows from blues rock’s glittering past.

But The Cold Stares give back as much as they take.

Heavy Shoes is like a highlights reel of 70s, 80s and 90s grooves.

Think Uriah Heep, Bad Company, .38 Special and Clutch.

Hell, there’s even echoes of Zeppelin if you listen hard enough.

And after the nightmare that was 2020 this is the Stares way to rock and roll heaven.