Collateral / Evolution Shines In New Album Should’ve Known Better

Kent-based quartet Collateral are a band that I have followed ardently since before their first EP launch in 2018 through to the present. In so doing, I have observed their evolution from playing mixed sets with a heavy emphasis on covers to steadily shifting to their own absorbing material. 

Collateral – Should’ve Known Better (Big Shot Records)

Release Date: 24 May 2024

Words: Sophie James

An exciting and flamboyant live act, they are comprised of the charismatic and magnetic Angelo Tristan on lead vocals, guitarist Louis Malagodi, Jack Bentley-Smith on bass and drummer Ben Atkinson.

While the promotion of 2020’s full-length debut coincided with and was significantly impacted by you know what, today sees the release of their sophomore long player, which is the first output without the presence of talisman guitarist Todd Winger.

Collateral - Should've Known Better - Dynamic tracks and catchy anthems perfect for summer.
Collateral – Should’ve Known Better – Dynamic tracks and catchy anthems perfect for summer.

“And now we know, we’re not alone. Out of the Shadows, we’ll be coming home.”

The intro of opening track and lead single, Glass Sky, certainly makes you sit up, take notice, and think this is different. With a shanty style gang vocal atop a rudimentary rhythmic accompaniment, we already have a vocal hook that will transfer most effectively to the live arena.  

Instantly what is heard sounds bigger and crisper than what went before.  

The song gradually builds into a perfectly crafted, anthemic slice of modern hard rock with melodic elements that are, to these ears, suggestive of Kris Barras and Within Temptation. That vocal refrain, which features throughout, also serves as the bridge to Louis’ short but incredibly sweet solo.

An infectious grinding riff launches an ode to the quasi-outlaw lifestyle with the mid-paced Original Criminal. Angelo’s vocal is underpinned by Jack’s flowing bass before the guitar returns. When it fully ignites, it is reminiscent of a strutty but sprightlier Skid Row.  

With its burrowing groove, it is one to maintain your attention and have you nodding throughout.

The new single, the sunny Just One Of Those Days, with its acoustic guitar central in the mix, has a real feel-good, summery vibe that occupies that space somewhere between Bryan Adams and Kid Rock.  

“Just gimme one of those days!”

“I’d love nothing more than to be on an open road, top-down, sun on skin and the wind in my hair whilst blaring this out,” Angelo says. “It was always intended to be the soundtrack of any Route 66 trip. What I really hope is for people to find happiness in this. I’m just trying to make what may seem like a bad day turn out to be a good one. It’s perfect if you’re having Just One Of Those Days.”

This song is a perfect festival number.

26may6:00 pmCollateral - Should've Known Better Album Launch | LondonThe Underworld

There are so many nods to ’70s and ’80s rock heritage contained within Teenage Dream that it is a veritable melting pot of musical influences so tastefully blended together.  

Correspondingly, the lyrics are most nostalgic, taking you back to a simpler time, with no worries in life, and a time when you considered yourself invincible.

Elysium can be described as archetypal Collateral. Longer-term aficionados will know what I mean. Perhaps not immediately apparent from its title, this is a straight-ahead ‘Friday Night, time to let your hair down’ kinda number.

On The Long Road is the album’s big ballad, complete with string accompaniment. Inspired by a heart-wrenching personal loss and its effect on those left to mourn. It is evocative of ’90s-era Bon Jovi with a solo to match.

As Angelo says, “This will be a difficult one to perform live due to the emotions that run through me.”  The more you listen to it and absorb its meaning, the more that sentiment is entirely understandable.

From here on in, it is foot to the floor, right to the chequered flag.  

The joyous opening and matching riff of No Place For Love picks up the pace again. Thematically, it is in the spirit of Living On A Prayer but musically invoking the spirit of ’80s Kiss and their ilk. Another, which is already a live inclusion, is my own personal favourite in the collection. 

Game Changer arrives like a cannonball and is a route one rocker with a hooky chorus. Dave Dalone of H.E.A.T stretches his fingers to nail the most fluid of solos as well, and summons some frenetic Scorps like doodling on the outro.  

Angelo sums it up perfectly, “It’s fast, hard and straight to the point.”

“I got you, under my skin, and now it’s wearing thin.”

Contrasting with the prevalent themes of optimism, closer Final Stand contains a bleaker message of battling your demons and not acquiescing to that dispiriting inner voice. 

“Cos I’m fighting, my reflection. Cos I never know what the mirror shows.”

As befits the darker theme, the arrangement is the weightiest on the album.  The magnificent pulverising riff is punctuated by Ben’s colossal drum sound. It is delightful visualising how this will project through a live PA.

“Don’t tell me what I’ve got to do. Won’t stop the fire burning through”. 

My other standout track and a most potent musical statement on which to conclude.

Overall, the album has a sparkly, summery and upbeat feel with each number never needlessly extended. Nine tracks in less than 36 minutes makes for an easy average and an open invitation to go round again.

Renowned producer Dan Weller (Elles Bailey, Kris Barras, Enter Shikari, Monster Truck, Stone Broken & Those Damn Crows) has fashioned a crisp, vibrant sound which is a world away from the rather languid feel of their debut which regrettably did scant justice to the quality of the compositions.  

It is apparent in his performance that Angelo is just oozing confidence and projection while Louis has stepped seamlessly into the breach with inspired playing throughout.

Released just in time for the spring/summer festival season, this album is full of catchy, flag-waving anthems that are sure to reinforce their appeal to the faithful and convert a few new devotees along the way.

Collateral Album Launch Show
Collateral Album Launch Show

The album is released by Big Shot Records and is now available from http://www.collateralofficial.com/ and also https://cargorecordsdirect.co.uk/products/collateral-shouldve-known-better

This article was updated at 14:30 to correct the guitar soloist on Game Changer.

Collateral

Vocals/Guitar – Angelo Tristran

Guitar – Louis Malagodi

Bass – Jack Bentley-Smith

Drums – Ben Atkinson

Should’ve Known Better – Track Listing

1. Glass Sky

2. Original Criminal

3. Just One of Those Days

4. Teenage Dream

5. Elysium

6. On The Long Road

7. No Place For Love

8. Game Changer 

9. Final Stand 

Sleeve Notes

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