Album Review: The Cold Stares – Heavy Shoes

The Breakdown

Stripped back blues rock full of emotive vocals, face melting riffing and a solid backbeat. The Cold Stares are another duo to add to the list of rocks finest.

Rock n roll duo The Cold Stares, have release their new album Heavy Shoes via Mascot Records. Recorded largely at Sam Phillips Recording Studio, Memphis and mixed by Mark Needham (The Killers) and mastered by Andy Vandette (Beastie Boys/Smashing Pumpkins), Heavy Shoes is their heaviest record yet.

“I tend to try to write like you’re reading a book. It’s descriptive, but also visual,” Chris Tapp says.

“There were a million opportunities for us to bail. We’ve both been through divorces, and I’ve been through cancer. We’ve been through tough times and never been given anything on a silver plate. We’re just a blue-collar American rock and roll band,” he continues.

“I don’t think you can get to know people any better than playing music together,” says drummer Mullins. “You see people at their best and their worst. We’ve cried in front of each other, we’ve celebrated in front of each other.”

Heaviest album yet and opener Heavy Shoe is testament of that. A stomping big riff and galactic sized drums gets the bloody pumping setting you in the mood for their brand of rock ‘n’ roll. The cool Motown rumble of ‘In The Night Time’ has a splash of organ lending that Memphis feel that the album has dusted through out. Which can’t be helped considering where it was recorded.

’40 Dead Men’ carries on the simple formula of loud guitar and pounding drums. The use of dynamic guitar playing that Tapp deploys separates the verses as he keeps it quiet during the singing but then stomps on the volume when the guys rock out on the tracks outro. “It’s a metaphor for being sucked into a fight, be it politics or religion, and focussing on going back to the thing you really love.”

The guys take their foot off the tap slightly on third track ‘Take This Body From Me’ with its groove laden verse riff and then set the chorus alight ending with a smoking solo. Groove is the name of the game with tracks ‘Hard Times’ with its guitar trickery and ‘Strange Light’ which also sees one of the best vocal performances on the album. Closing track ‘Dust In My Hands’ sees the best vocal performance of the album though. Tapps slow drawl has that rock n roll feel thats full of whisky and smokey rooms.

Never far away is the bluesy side of their rock and roll. The burning blues of Prosecution Blues grinds away with some traditional 12 bar about being done wrong by a lady. The blues turn modern with tracks ‘Its a game’ and ‘Election Blues’.

Foot to the floor rock on ‘You wanted Love’ and ‘Save You From You’ is what these guys do best. It’s what this album excels at. A pure rock n roll album full of desert groove laden rock, gravely whisky filled vocals that soothe and cut deep with emotion thats built on a solid backbeat from Brian Mullins.

Theres no denying that the duo make one hell of a noise. Their stripped back no nonsense approach allows a raw transmission of emotion that you feel as well as hear. Heavy shoe is the album that sets these guys up as a classic duo to go along with Rock n Rolls finest. We will always need bands like The Cold Stares. Long live.

Check out the bands video for track Hard Times, below:

Find out more via the bands Website or Facebook

Order the album here


1. Heavy Shoes
2. 40 Dead Men
3. Take This Body From Me
4. Hard Times
5. In The Night Time
6. Strange Light
7. Prosecution Blues
8. It’s A Game
9. Save You From You
10. You Wanted Love
11. Election Blues
12. Dust In My Hands
13. Hard Times

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