May 23, 2024

Collateral’s hotly tipped sophomore album Should’ve Known Better looks like it will take them to the next level. A lot of people don’t know what to expect from the new album, as the band have been tight-lipped about the new songs, but fans needn’t worry – ever since their classy debut full-length number in 2020 (also reviewed by Yours Truly), the band has been going from strength to strength and it’s fair to say they’re now in the vanguard of the New Wave of British Classic Rock. Collateral have now created a state-of-the-art rock album that will immerse listeners in their rock music universe, enabling fans to feel the blood, sweat and glory that went into the recording of every song.

Collateral haven’t stopped since the release of their debut EP 4 Shots! on November 17, 2018, featuring the single “Midnight Queen,” song that received major airplay on Planet Rock, the UK’s biggest classic rock radio station, and got to the top of the Australian Radio charts.

Collateral are:
Angelo Tristan – Vocals/Guitar
Louis Malagodi – Guitar
Ben Atkinson – Drums
Jack Bentley-Smith – Bass

After winning a Camden Rocks Festival competition to play the main stage at the Electric Ballroom on June 1, 2019, Collateral went on to win a competition out of 200,000 entrants to support Jon Bon Jovi on his Runaway to Paradise Mediterranean cruise in August 2019. All these achievements opened exciting new doors for the Kent-based rockers. Their self-titled debut album was released in early 2020 and went straight to number 5 in the Official UK Rock charts in the week of release. The high-energy 9-track album also featured the singles “Lullaby,” “Mr Big Shot,” and “Merry Go Round.”
During the same month Collateral toured the UK with Jared James Nichols, and then joined Bon Jovi’s guitarist Phil X’s own band Phil X & The Drills on their UK tour in March of the same year.

Despite their debut being so well received, the band weren’t satisfied. “We felt that our debut album was lacking the production,” reflects Collateral’s frontman, Angelo Tristan. “For the sophomore album, I wanted to make sure that this time we left no room for error and so got one of the hottest producers in the music industry, Dan Weller, to help lift these songs into a new dimension. With Dan’s pioneering studio expertise, this album has massive production quality that enables you to get lost in each character-filled track. Dan really brought out the emotions we were trying to portray and has achieved it with his own unique style.”

At the start of 2022 the band headlined the UK with their “Re-Wired Tour” leading up to the release of a re mix of their first LP featuring special guests such as Danny Vaughn of Tyketto, Jeff Scott Soto, Phil X of Bon Jovi, and many more which went on to achieve a number #12 spot in the Official UK Rock Album Chart. After playing numerous festivals throughout that summer, Collateral went on to do back- to-back tours with Reckless Love, H.E.A.T. and Skid Row, which saw the band’s popularity reach new heights during 2023 – setting the scene nicely for their new material.

It has to be said up front that Angelo has a voice that is honey-smooth, taylor-made for the Mid-Atlantic, smooth Classic rock that these guys specialise in. In every way, he is the perfect frontman for this sort of radio friendly, anthemic arena rock. He’s backed up by a very solid rhythm section in Ben and Jack, and guitar fans needn’t worry in that new guy Louis has contributed and performed some scorching stuff here – all in all, they’re doing rather well!

Nine new tracks are presented here, kicking off with Glass Sky (see the video below) which generated a massive reaction when it was released as a single a couple of months ago. Guitarist Louis generated the opening riff, Angelo admitting to being bowled over when he first heard it, recognising it for the huge arena anthem it undoubtedly is. They certainly knew they were onto something with this one, it illustrates Louis’ signature style of playing – fresh, bouncy, 80’s-ish, radio-friendly and hugely addictive.

Original Criminal is next, it confirms that balance between Angelo’s voice and Louis’ choppy chords. There’s a touch of Rainbow about the riff, but who’s complaining. There’s also a nod to those big American Arena bands, lots of harmonies and big choruses. Just One of Those Days maintains the melodic mood, it’s an upbeat, bouncy country-rock number, more than a hint of Bryan Adams, a total ear-worm. Teenage Dreams casts a nostalgic look back to those days we all remember fondly in retrospect. Another upbeat number with a touch of Southern rock, a nice crisp production setting it off perfectly, and it topped off with an interesting change of pace and short but sweet solo. Elysium gets funky – a big boingy bass-line doing the dirty work together with more Southern-influenced guitar work giving the platform for Angelo to strut his stuff.

On The Long Road is a moving ballad dedicated to Angelo’s partner’s mum and everyone else who was lost to us during Covid. It’s a lovely song and Angelo’s favourite track on the album, but he admits it’s still really hard for him to perform it live….No Place For Love ratches up the pace a little, some more funk in the beat, another choppy riff, this is quality, timeless AOR.

The last two tracks wind the energy levels up further, Game Changer being fast and hard. Somehow reminds me of a million other tracks but that’s the beauty of these guys they distill AOR so well. And then we have the Final Stand, the heaviest and darkest track on the album. A nice bit of metal, a whopper of a riff, and above it all Angelo’s commanding voice in total control.

These guys would be absolutely massive in the States, but I suspect they’re only going to get bigger here and across Europe as well. Well done, guys!