Stand Atlantic – F.E.A.R. (Album Review)

Stand Atlantic – F.E.A.R.
Released: May 6, 2022

Lineup:

Bonnie Fraser // vocals, guitar
Miki Rich // bass
Jonno Panichi // drums
David Potter // guitars

Online:

Official Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

When Stand Atlantic released their sophomore LP, Pink Elephant way back in August 2020, the Sydney pop punk quartet were literally at the top of their game. Not just in Australia either. Even in overseas markets, when it came to pop punk, the one band that the world seemingly couldn’t get enough of was Stand Atlantic. So it was a damn shame for us all, but moreso for the band that couldn’t play their fresh new record out for the world because of…well, the last two years.

Instead of sitting around, wasting away like many of us did during the world pandemic, vocalist/lyricist/guitarist Bonnie Fraser decided to release all her frustrations into writing new music for the day the world reopened. Titled F.E.A.R. (which promptly stands for F*ck Everything and Run), the band’s newest offering hopes to build on the futuristic yet contemporary rock style they introduced to us in 2020. Will their third LP live up to everyone’s expectations? Let’s find out…

‘Doomsday’ picks up where we left off at the end of Pink Elephant and leaps into form with prolific, bouncy energy that sees Bonnie lash out her frustrations upon the world. If you’re feeling low on that seratonin, this little bop makes up for its size with the abundance of chemicals for your mood. With this, F.E.A.R. is skyrocketing to the top of our album of the year lists already, especially when you turn up the call-to-arms anthem, ‘Pity Party’. Prepare to mosh all those negative vibes away, this is the song to let everything out when the band hit your city.

There’s some absolute standout lyricism from Fraser on this record, that’s improved magnificently on F.E.A.R. ‘Van Gogh’ demonstrates her unique outlook on life with the ingenious hook, “shall I pull a Van Gogh? I’ll do anything to shut you up…” about tuning out unwanted noise (for background reference, Van Gogh was an artist in the 1800s who infamously cut his ear off — love that metaphor, Bon!). It dares to continue that unapologetic attitude amidst simmering punk riffs that throws us back to their breakthrough, Skinny Dipping. While ‘Dumb’ counteracts this move with affluent pop sensibility and sends Stand Atlantic into the musical stratosphere, ‘Hair Out’ sees Bonnie reach her limits on putting up with shit. These are all deadset bangers, with the guys showing absolute zero signs of slowing down.

One of the biggest songs released in the last year, ‘Deathwish’ saw STAT teaming up with US rapper Nothing, Nowhere and, given the song is now a year old, very much ignited the band’s third chapter. Without a doubt, ‘Deathwish’ has become my go-to for those moments I just can’t anymore. At this point, you start to wonder if Stand Atlantic can attack any genre to their heart’s content. Enter ‘Switchblade’ with its crushing blend of hard rock and poppier melody bleeding together for a good ol’ tease. Heck, we’ve even got guitarist David Potter going full send on that guitar solo!

As we heard earlier, the band are doing their utmost best in delivering songs for the fans, new and old. ‘Nails From the Back’ is one for those who’ve stuck by them since day one. Opting for a slower change of pace this time, it’s a refreshing moment of nostalgia for everyone involved as they attack all-too familiar behaviours to deal with our anxiety. I’ve definitely missed this punchy but laidback kinda vibe that we first heard on songs like Coffee at Midnight and Sidewinder (yep, we’re going way back here!). ‘Bloodclot’ is an explosive throwback from their past, that fits right in the band’s progressive and innovative new era.

While ‘Don’t Talk [To Me]’ is more of Bonnie’s fury and unapologetic demeanour on the world around her, ‘XO’ marks F.E.A.R’s most experimental track yet as they continue to break musical boundaries with their edgy brand of emo pop. Following the band’s endeavours from hit tracks ‘Blurry’ and the ambitious ‘Silk & Satin’, this rock-fuelled number manages to exceed all expectations — yeah, the band are f*cking killing it here.

Honestly, this whole album is Stand Atlantic levelling up, with the world watching closely, anticipating their next moves. They’ve proved they can dominate the pop punk arena, but what else do they have up their experimental sleeves? The tail-end of F.E.A.R. perhaps acts as a teaser for what’s to come (or as I learnt when I chatted with Bonnie and Miki recently, take this lightly!); ‘Molotov’ saw Bonnie tackle her inner demons in a fury in an attempt to break past societal structures. If you thought this is STAT as hard as they get, wait ’til you get a load of ‘Cabin Fever’. This one begins with a moody electronic trap-style beat and Bonnie singing about fighting to meet expectations, and things get even heavier when the rest of the band chime in for an angsty, punk-fuelled chorus. It’s undeniably Stand Atlantic’s darkest attempt, especially as it nears that earth-shattering bridge, as Bonnie screams, “I’m gonna f*ck it all up with some real weird shit!” When you hear it for the first time, your jaw will drop to the floor. Wildly unexpected, but I’m digging it. You will too, I promise.

Once again, Stand Atlantic are on fire and at the top of their game. From Skinny Dipping, to Pink Elephant, to F.E.A.R, they’ve constantly pushed their musical limits every time and in the process, kept themselves miles ahead of their peers. F.E.A.R. shows off the band’s biggest innovative efforts yet and their moves will drastically change the pace for the future of alternative/punk and pop punk. This is Album of the Year material, for sure.

Stand Atlantic – F.E.A.R. tracklisting:

1. doomsday
2. pity party (feat. Royal & The Serpent)
3. van gogh
4. dumb
5. hair out
6. deathwish (feat. nothing, nowhere.)
7. switchblade
8. nails from the back
9. bloodclot
10. don’t talk [to me]
11. xo
12. cabin fever (feat. my literal mum)
13. molotov [OK]
14. i wonder what kind of garlic bread they serve at MENSA

Rating: 10/10
F.E.A.R. is out Friday through Hopeless Records. Pre-order here
Review By Tamara May @citylightstam

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About Tamara May (993 Articles)
Wall of Sound's Head of Album Reviews. Weekend Content. Pop Punk Enthusiast.