Stand Atlantic are back with their electronic-infused sophomore effort and it absolutely rocks!
After the success of their debut record Skinny Dipping (2018), Australian pop-punk outfit Stand Atlantic are back with their sophomore effort Pink Elephant (2020), and it does not disappoint. Forming in 2012 in Sydney, this four-piece have gone from strength to strength with every project that they release. Pink Elephant is the perfect modern pop-punk album, featuring more electronic influences yet keeping the traditional pop fuelled hooks and roaring riffs that are a staple of the genre.
‘Like That’ opens up the album perfectly. The repeated pop refrain “it’s just like that” doesn’t get annoying at all during the whole three minutes and is just undeniably catchy. Even if this song does sit on the poppier side of the pop-punk genre, the loud guitars and crashing drums are still ever-present here. Frontwoman Bonnie Fraser’s vocals have been layered to have a slight glitch effect and although across the album this can be taken a bit too far, on this song the layering works well. ‘Like That’ is a good showcase of what’s in store on the rest of the record and immediately gets you hyped for the following thirty minutes.
The two singles ‘Shh!’ and ‘Wavelength’ feature the two most aggressive and angry moments on the album. Roaring guitars and the fire that is present in Bonnie’s delivery that even leads to a few screams sees the band going back to their roots with a sound that was seen on their Sidewinder EP in 2017. Still sticking to the electronic theme, the distorted vocals and riffs add to the emotion and passion the band is trying to get across. Between the two tracks, I would say that ‘Wavelength’ uses a bit too much of the vocal layering and distortion, as at points you can barely distinguish that it is Fraser singing and it feels slightly overdone but it is still not a complete turn-off. The riffs here are a lot more ferocious than ‘Shh!’ and are easily the best on the record.
We get the classic pop-punk album stripped back, emotion heavy number in the form of ‘Drink To Drown’ that touches upon miscommunication in a relationship and the heartbreak of not receiving back the same level of effort you are putting into someone you love. When discussing this single, Fraser explained “Everyone has a different love language. Just because you’re not feeling it doesn’t mean they’re not showing it in their own way.”. This is the first time we have seen the band open up in this raw way, but Fraser’s vocals are more than strong enough to be the focal point of this song.
My favourite songs on the album are the two deep cuts ‘DWYW’ and ‘Soap’, which are both complete summer bangers. ‘DWYW’ is one of the most pop-leaning songs here but this only makes it an easy listen and widens its scope of appeal whilst incorporating the guitars and rougher vocals in the mix. Sparkling, bubbly synths create a summery and happy sound, even if the lyrics don’t match up.
‘Soap’ is the perfect pop-punk song in the modern age. I would argue that this is the best track on the entire album, but it’s a very tough contest. Blending all of the elements of the pop-punk genre together but being able to stand out is quite difficult. Most bands in this scene fall into the same trap of just making something that has been done a million times before. But on ‘Soap’, Stand Atlantic just feel so original and fresh. The pop riffs, Fraser’s melodic vocals, and the modern production make this song feel so breezy and summer-ready.
One of the few complaints I would have about this album is the track ‘Silk & Satin’, as it sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the other songs on the tracklist. Going for trap-style beats and being absent of any organic instrumentation and riffs, this song seems to miss the mark slightly when looking at the rest of the album and how strong it is. It is catchy enough but just doesn’t blend well with the rest of these guitar-heavy pop-punk bangers.
Hopeless Records seem to be at the center of all of the fantastic pop-punk releases at the moment, and Stand Atlantic’s Pink Elephant is definitely up there with one of the best modern pop-punk albums of the last ten years. This record shows how the band have made positive progression through the slight shift in sound from their Sidewinder EP, as well as working on some of the drawbacks that Skinny Dipping held. It seems that on their sophomore effort, the Australian four-piece have found their feet in the music scene and I am sure that they will only improve from here.
Pink Elephant is available now via Hopeless Records and you can watch the video for ‘Jurassic Park’ below: