15 January 2020

COLLATERAL – album review


Put February 21st in your diaries rock and rollers, because something special is coming to town. Collateral’s debut album will finally be released, and I have a feeling up and down the country many a music fan will be listening to the fruits of Angelo Tristian, Todd Winger, Jack Bentley Smith and Mr Ben Atkinson’s labour with a smile on their faces and a cowboy boot heels tapping on the floor.

It was 2018 since the release of the fantastic ‘4 Shots!’ but a very busy 2019 indeed for the boys. Introducing them at many a festival and always appreciating their hard-work, stage-craft and attitude I, for one was keen to see what the rock quartet would bring to the party with this offering.

The album sprints off the starter block with

Mr Bigshot, a song when on my first hearing live had me singing the next day in the bath. It reflects what Collateral do so well. It’s catchy chorus and up-beat tempo reflect what Collateral are. Let’s forget labels such as AOR and classic rock. This is just simply – damn good music.
In case you thought Mr Big Shot is the best there is, by the second song, Promiseland, you will realise how wrong you are. With solid riffs and a great vocal range this is a peach. Picture the crowds, arms in the air, clapping through the introduction for this tune. Promiseland may be a contender for the best song on the album but the competition is high.
It is soon followed by Merry Go Round, a song with a lot of soul and a touch of that southern vibe. Think Black Stone Cherry combining with some early Bon Jovi, which to me is a damn good hybrid. I know Collateral will always be compared to Bon Jovi, which is both understandably and very complimentary.
I remember listening to Slippery, New Jersey, Keep the Faith and These Days and enjoying every track as much as the last, a pattern in my opinion, that was lost in later albums. This Collateral album has that early Jovi magic. Each song brings something to the table and rest assured, fillers are well and truly absent.
In It for Love is another song which could be recorded in the eighties and if it was, would be played in packed-out stadiums. Even in my forties I am playing air guitar along with Winger like I was with Eddie Van Halen thirty years ago. Collateral have brought a sense of nostalgia but with that modern twist.
Lullaby joins the party, which in my opinion is going far too fast. Lullaby and Midnight Queen have been fan’s favourites in live shows (if you’ve seen one, you’ll know why). These songs, although different in style have the ingredients for modern classics. Both are exceptional live, and both are brilliant as centre-pieces of the album.
Won’t get you back is a beautiful song. It’s not clever, pretentious or experimental. This is an unapologetic rock and roll ballad which like all good ballads hooks the listener tells a story that the listener will feel connected to.

Won’t stop me dreaming is up next and if it was written thirty years ago it would be featuring in musicals such as Rock of Ages. Another beauty with a crisp clear chorus which will simply make your day better for hearing it. The album concluded with a southern country style ballad which could easily be a duet with Leanne Rhymes if it wanted to be. The cheeky conclusion tops of the Collateral cherry perfectly.
I was hoping Collateral’s album wouldn’t disappoint. It hasn’t. The boys from Kent have delivered a great structured album with great tunes, sublime storytelling with that touch of personality that identifies them as the flamboyant rock and roll band of the new decade.