Visually I’m looking at pictures of a bunch of tattoo-infested, unkemptly long-haired, leather and tight-trousered sleaze rockers, the PR bumpf throws out names like Bon Jovi and Aerosmith as reference points but the CD that’s currently on replay tells me I’m being told porkies! Frankly, this band has more in common with The Eagles, but a more credible and contemporary version.
True, when lead singer Angelo Tristan first clears his throat there’s a husky rasp to it that puts you in mind of Nickleback’s Chad Kroeger and yes there’s a commercial edge to all the songs featured on this debut EP but that’s no bad thing; they’re earworms featuring lyrics beyond the throwaway that are delivered with conviction.
Electric and acoustic guitars weave seamlessly together on a song that sounds like they’ve just stepped off a freight train or greyhound bus somewhere in the American heartland as ‘Going With The Wind’ begins a wistfully enigmatic tale of regret, stark plea for salvation, or simply an atypical life-on-the-road rock travelogue. You hear the lead guitar psyching itself up a verse or so before the solo comes and when it does it’s a joy – Fluid, inspired, taking the emotion of the lyrics and flying wild and free with a wonderful tone.
Previously going under the moniker of the Angelo Tristan Band, the vocalist is also credited as a guitarist but I’m presuming the similarly tagged Todd Winger is the one playing lead – Don’t ask me his influences though we’re talking mostly old school. All you need know is he’s worth listening to. The rhythm section of Jack Bentley Smith Ben Atkinson are an able pair too. Ultimately though it’s the songs and there’s not a bad apple among them.
Current single ‘Midnight Queen’ had me scouring the internet for Eagles album tracks, drawing a blank and looking up Poco, Pure Prairie League and even Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers; practically anything that had the smell of incest, because I would have bet on it being a cover. It’s not. The rhyming couplet harmonies are both infectious and addictive, the barroom backing talk and wolf whistles cheesy but fun, then when it rocks out hard a pleasant but brief surprise. Built for audience participation when played live.
The title says it all with ‘Angels Crying’. You know you’re expected to cry all the way to Nashville with this cowboy rock after one too many glasses late in the night, and perhaps you can hear the ‘Smith and those New Jersey lads’ AOR tricks in the hooks that come for round for a repeated calling. They sign off with ‘Just Waiting For You’, a sense of dread in its broken chord turnaround, a cheeky Def Leppard guitar motif then interjected to add an urgency – in a song that’s the more modern, sensual equivalent of Lindisfarne’s old hit single ‘Meet Me On the Corner’ – A bloke promising he’ll wait however long it takes for you to turn up for that date (Honest, girls, most of us are decent chaps!). Heart-wrenching faux Americana from a bunch of lads from Thanet in Kent who then up the tempo and go to blaze the hard rocking trail, retuning for one tearful last chorus shout.
Collateral’s 4 Shots EP is available through Roulette Media Records and available on all digital platforms. You can check out the video for ‘Midnight Queen’ right here, and personally, if they can bring out an album with songs of this quality then I’ve fallen for them hook, line and sinker.