Stand Atlantic – Pink Elephant
Released: 7th August, 2020
Bonnie Fraser | vocals, guitar
David Potter | guitar
Miki Rich | bass
Jonno Panichi | drums
Ever since their debut full-length Skinny Dipping dropped in late 2018, Sydney pop punk four-piece Stand Atlantic have been taking over the world one country/tour at a time. They’re clearly drawing in crowds overseas at an alarmingly fast rate, because I don’t think Australia has seen a Stand Atlantic tour since early 2019. While their former release nailed the pop punk algorithm with brilliantly infectious hooks, Bonnie Fraser, David Potter, Jonno Panichi and Miki Rich are looking to deliver what they seemingly perfected on Skinny Dipping, yet also taking it another level to maintain their position one step ahead of everyone else in the music industry. With Pink Elephant, Stand Atlantic have unlocked this feat, ultimately staying miles ahead of their peers in the game.
The Pink Elephant era began last September with ‘Hate Me (Sometimes)’, which was essentially the band’s transition single between the two records (and one of the standout tracks of 2019) as it sits so idyllically next to the explosive anthems of ‘Lavender Bones’ and ‘Bullfrog’. ‘Hate Me’ also gave us a hint of the direction the unstoppable four-piece were heading, and boy did we looove the vibe back then just as much as we do (almost) a year later. Definitely a killer way to kick off the new era, yet so far from everything else on this new album…
Pink Elephant sees Stand Atlantic at their most raw, creative selves yet, and every song deserves their time in the spotlight as much as the next tune. The band hit the ground running with first track, ‘Like That’ with its huge pop/rock guitars driving elated emotions felt the first time you’re meeting someone new. You know the feeling, you finally meet that guy/girl you’ve been crushing hard on and you can’t really describe those sickly sweet emotions bubbling in your insides? Yeah, it’s just like that!
Drummer Jonno Panichi leads the intro on ‘Shh!’, before giving way to the rest of the band into an explosively infectious chorus, and the four of them are unified from here on out. The musicianship here is so evident, as well as right throughout the album. The band have found their voice, are fucking owning it and they don’t care what you think. ‘Blurry’ is a big vibe and one of my personal favourite tracks on Pink Elephant, bringing with it huge pop sensibilities to the album and a fresh new sound for the band. It sounds like a tune I would hear for the first time on mainstream radio and be like “Oh! This is tasty!” and turn up to maximum volume.
Next we’ve got by far the biggest tune of the record (and of 2020) with ‘Jurassic Park’ and its soaring pop punk antics. However, this is more than your standard punk anthem. Hidden behind all the catchiness and pop punkiness, is a deeply personal song diving deep into the impact of one’s mental health around those close to them. I’m loving Bonnie Fraser’s use of metaphors enveloped right throughout the song here, and is perhaps a testament to her incredible talent as a songwriter. In fact, I’ll just say it right now the lyric writing on Pink Elephant has surpassed the standard in this genre. Pink Elephant is beyond your standard pop punk record; it’s so much more than that, and that’s evident with tracks like ‘Eviligo’. While it definitely still has that rock element driving the tune, much like ‘Blurry’ does, ‘Eviligo’ pushes the band’s limits into the unknown stratosphere with the addition of those poppier hooks.
‘Wavelength’ was the fourth single released off this album and once again, exceeded all our expectations of Stand Atlantic. With electronic pop beats induced by the edgy, yet infectious guitar riffs, the song feeds into the frustrations one feels about the inability to communicate with someone. The line “I’m tripping on your wavelength…” kinda sums it up perfectly.
‘Drink To Drown’ sees the band slow it down for a moment, swapping the guitars for piano keys and Bonnie being at one with her thoughts, singing her heart out and exposing her innermost secrets. It’s a beautiful, intimate piano ballad about unreciprocated feelings where you can’t help but feel Bonnie’s vulnerability here. I can absolutely envision an awe-inspiring smartphones and lighters in the air moment at a live show setting once gigs return to full peak.
Pink Elephant is Stand Atlantic giving everything they’ve got, taking risks and not giving any absolute fucks. ‘DWYW’ (or ‘Do What You Want’) is the underdog anthem of the album here, with its ever-so-catchy guitars and pop-driven riffs, giving the song an added edge. It’s a positively uplifting song for any kind of stressful situation. While ‘Silk & Satin’ is definitely the band’s riskiest song to date, with its emo-pop and trap sensibilities, it feels almost like a late interlude to the album but regardless, I’m kind of really loving the ambience it brings here.
Final “new” track ‘Soap’ sees the band return to their pop punk roots one more time, with an attempt to cleanse themselves of any old destructive experiences and behaviours. It’s a brilliant, feelgood song that kinda makes you wanna drive and forget all the frustrations in your head. ‘Hate Me (Sometimes)’ ends this 10/10 record with a bang and on a melancholy note, and I hope all your “pink elephants” are ready for this era.
The pop punk game is changing in 2020, with bands looking to reinvent the sound and at the same time pay homage to the golden years. Stand Atlantic are at the forefront of this wave. They have exceeded all my expectations with Pink Elephant, breaking musical barriers, and yet, still maintaining that pop punk edge. The one question you’re all probably wondering is, is it a pop punk album, or is it a pop record? While there’s definitely going to be many people on the fence about this, Stand Atlantic clearly don’t care where they stand and they’re not about that. What matters at the end of the day is that it’s an absolutely brilliant album from start to finish. Every song on Pink Elephant stands so well on its own, and I haven’t gotten sick of one song (so far). I’m fucking excited to see where Stand Atlantic go beyond the release of this record, because it’s going to be a good time for all.
Stand Atlantic – Pink Elephant tracklisting:
1. Like That
4. Jurassic Park
7. Drink To Drown
9. Silk & Satin
11. Hate Me (Sometimes)
Check out Bonnie Fraser co-hosting our Wall of Sound: Up Against The Wall chatting all things Pink Elephant and more right here