It’s just under a year since we reviewed the debut EP by Nantes/ Naoned band Collision where we made a polite request that it should be a sign of things to come. With this debut full-length it seems like they have listened, as we have been rewarded handsomely – this album is incredible. The sound is deeply rooted in the French oi! sound and that tradition is honoured on Sur Les Trottoirs. Similar to how Blitz transitioned from oi! punk to new wave, bands like Camera Silens also made changes along similar lines, and Collision pick up touches from all aspects of that musical journey. So for example on the song Vengeance you have the hard-as-nails- backing vocals, and terrace singalongs, accompanied by a lead guitar that has those synth overtones straight out of the eighties.
Here and there the guitars are bolstered by a saxophone meaning that together, they work some very sophisticated melodies into their songs with layers of sound. In Destin the label is immortalised in song once again, with the words Une Vie Pour Rien ringing out at the finish. The fact that they sing in French makes those comparisons to bands ancient and modern quite simple, and it always provides a unique flavour. It’s not just the language, but the vocal phrasing used and the fact that whereas most oi! bands are/ were very much about a bold, simple melody – French bands have/ had a much darker feel.
If the traditional sound is like a straight-forward punch in the face, the French style is much more about shadows moving in the dark, creating a sense of tension and unease. See the album closer Serie Noir for a perfect example of this. After Maraboots packed in, my favourite recent(ish) bands in this vein have been Syndrome 81 and Bromure, but with this album, Collision have pretty much catapulted themselves to the top of the tree. Tom Chapman