Releasing their debut EP, ‘4 Shots!’, at the tail-end of 2018, Collateral’s first foray into full-length territory is eventually upon us. I declared their debut four tracker to be constituted by “four shots of nicely crafted 80s rock nostalgia”, and I can now happily report their first full platter of music to be comprised of nine even better shots of further refined retro rock worship... and beyond. They’ve not only honed their 80s’ pastiche to better effect, but also widened their stylistic palette to incorporate a number of other genre dynamics.
Album closer ‘About This Boy’ dips its toes a little too much into country territory for my own tastes, but its befitting of the era of the style of music they’re mimicking, as Poison et al weren’t averse to a touch of country idioms in a handful of their tunes back in the day. I guess it’s not full-on country rocking reverence, but more like another flavour in their overall recipe. And not forgetting ‘4 Shots!’ had distinct Bon Jovi vibes, too… as Jon Bon & co. were partial to a country twang, of course (‘Midnight Queen’, making a return appearance from the EP, I’m looking at you… as well as newcomer ‘Get Back to You’… Jovi devotion on overdrive in these two).
‘Mr Big Shot’, ‘Promiseland’ and ‘In It For Love’ are where Collateral’s 80s rock influences come to the fore. ‘Merry Go Round’ has similar vibes, but its mid-tempo impetus and chunkier riffing conveys more of a Southern rock core. ‘Lullaby’ is, ironically, perhaps the heaviest track on the album, at least in terms of riffage, and occupies that ambiguous rock-metal middle ground, whereas ‘Won’t Stop Me Dreaming’ has a catchy, sing-along, poppy essence. All musicians are to be admired here by what they bring to the table, but frontman Angelo Tristan’s vocal performance is what elevates all the material above what could otherwise be construed as mere generic mimicry.
Whatever style or paradigm the songs follow, it’s all very much delivered through a nostalgic filter of axiomatic retro inspiration. But that’s part of the album’s charms, as we’re not talking passé worship here; rather, Collateral are admirably flying the flag for rock of yore in the best and most convincing of ways, such is the authenticity of their retro rendering and the conviction of its delivery. Love this. A band on the up and going places, for sure.
Review by Mark Holmes
21st February 2020
1) Mr Bigshot
3) Merry Go Round
4) In It For Love
6) Midnight Queen
7) Get Back to You
8) Won't Stop Me Dreaming
9) About This Boy
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...we’re not talking passé worship here; rather, Collateral are admirably flying the flag for rock of yore in the best and most convincing of ways, such is the authenticity of their retro rendering and the conviction of its delivery."