The Cold Stares
Cocksure Blues Rock Meets Southern Rock at a City Centre Crossroads.
As regular readers will know we have very eclectic tastes here at RMHQ; none more so than my good self. Recently I’ve been dabbling in the Jazz pond, alongside my normal Americana/Roots listening; but one of my Guilty Pleasures has always been good old Blues Rock, which stems from my teenage years half a century ago.
As the acts I loved got Heavier I moved on to more melodic music; but still like to raise the roof every now and again; which is where The Cold Stares entered my life last week.
The album had been sitting around unplayed; simply because I was 99% sure what the contents would be …. and I was correct; but in a case of ‘right place/right time’ it went into the player on Monday morning and was still rocking the office at tea-time!
Unlike most of their contempories; Kentuckians,The Cold Stares actually manage to sound Bluesy, while ‘turning it up to 11’ and allow singer singer Chris Tapp to actually ‘sing’ instead of scream.
Obviously it was the opening track Heavy Shoes which initially caught my attention. POWERFUL hardly covers it; but there was cool guitar riff that runs all the way through; and Tapp reminded me of Paul Rogers in his full majesty (which covers both Free and Bad Co.) and to some degree Brian Mullins could well have took lessons from Paul Kossoff at times; on a song that makes Whitesnake sound like a Pop Combo!
I’d be nervous of playing this album through headphones, as my ears are in a ragged state anyway; but these songs do need to be played loud(ish) to get the best from; mostly because you can actually feel the bass/drums combo in your chest at times; but for once that doesn’t detract from the songs; with Save You From You, Strange Light and 40 Dead Men being prime examples of a band who have served a long and tough apprenticeship; never wavering from their goal ….. and now actually living out their combined dreams; doing what they want for an ever appreciative fan base.
As I say; Heavy Blues/Rock isn’t my normal ‘go to’ genre; but occasionally bands like The Cold Stares come out of the shadows, and while frightening me at first; have something special in their armoury (You Wanted Love? Take This Body From Me?) that are significantly different from the norm, to catch my attention, but then grow to appreciate the classy playing and surprisingly intricate production values that combine to give us some quite Classic Contemporary Rock.
As you’d expect from a Heavy Blues style album there’s an all purveying darkness from start to finish; but The Cold Stares carry this off with not just class but panache too; none none so than the funky-ass Gothic sounding In The Night Time, which straddles Southern Rock and British Blues with swagger and style.
Which brings me to my Favourite Track here.
Not necessarily an easy task as there isn’t anything here that I would say could be a Commercial/crossover Hit; although there is certainly a lot to like and admire; but one song seems to stand out above the rest and will sound great on both Rock Radio in the car and in a sweaty club at 11.15 on a Friday night; and that’s Hard Times, with it’s Jack Bruce a-like bass lines and cocksure vocal performance on a song that will resonate with just about everyone who is living on the back foot these days.
While I certainly don’t want to be inundated with similar releases over the next six months; The Cold Stares have been a revelation for me; and a bit of an adventure too.
Released August 13th 2021
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