Shoes were/are the pre-eminent power pop group … of all time. There, I said it. Formed in 1974 in Zion, Illinois by the Murphy brothers (John and Jeff) and high school friend Gary Klebe, the band found success in the late 1970s and were one of the first to be featured on a fledging video channel known as MTV.
The band was smart and early on formed its own record label before signing with Elektra. They also had their own studio, manned by Jeff Murphy, who later helped engineer/produce/craft some great tracks by Local H and Material Issue.
Anyhow, known for their pop sensibilities and the ability to craft album tracks that weren’t always immediately accessible, Shoes built a reputation for the slow burn. After a couple listens, their songs stick with you and you can’t shake them. It’s only after sitting with a Shoes album for a day that it becomes a part of you and ingrained in just about everything you do. The lyrics get stuck in your head. You find yourself singing riffs to yourself. Sometimes you might break out into the backup vocals. It can’t be denied, and it can’t be fought. It’s Shoes. It’s what they do.
With Ignition, their first album of new material in 17 years, the boys are back in town, and it is almost as if they never left. Backed by the venerable John Richardson on drums, Shoes take us back to the day when AM radio ruled and power pop was something much more than a carbonated beverage. The slow burn is here. Give the album a spin or two to let it sink in. When it grabs you, you will know.