Stand Atlantic – ‘Pink Elephant’

By Yasmin Brown

In the two years since Aussie natives Stand Atlantic released debut album ‘Skinny Dipping’, they’ve worked to build up a strong, international fanbase. As they embarked on headline tours, sat comfortably on festival lineups, and saw themselves supporting well-established bands such as The Maine, it became clear that this is a band destined for stardom – at least in the pop-punk world. ‘Skinny Dipping’ was embraced with open arms, and the increasing number of fans singing along and crowd surfing at their shows – regardless of the band’s position on the lineup – made this fact undeniable. 

It stands, then, that as they come to release their second album, ‘Pink Elephant’, there’s a lot to live up to. Luckily for both band and fans, this record will not disappoint.

The record kicks off suddenly with ‘Like That’. There’s no build up in sight as we’re instantly thrown into the deep end of a pool of classic pop-punk sounds, wherein vocalist Bonnie Fraser is immediately given a chance to show off her talents – not least just before the bridge where her vocals reach brand new heights. The track transitions into ‘Shh!’ – a song that utilises synths in such a way that it feels more mature than anything they’ve done before as Fraser encourages the song’s subject to think before they speak. This feels heavier than any of their previous material, and it’s something we’ll hear numerous times throughout the record as the band push boundaries, maintaining their signature sound but also bravely venturing slightly outside the lines. 

The next three tracks are the most catchy, Fraser’s staccato vocal effects lending themselves perfectly to the fun-as-hell chorus in ‘Blurry’, before the band launch into what might sonically be the fiercest track on the record, ‘Jurassic Park’. 

What really makes this record stand out though, are the moments that feel completely removed from anything they’ve done before. You see it a little at first during ‘Eviligo’, where the synths are seamlessly incorporated as a prominent feature of the track, but it’s only when the bitter ‘Wavelength’ kicks in that we feel these synths take the reins and present something entirely new as Fraser sings about someone trying to be something they’re not.

While the upbeat, pop-punk, synth goodness is certainly enjoyable, Stand Atlantic truly excel when they strip things back, and ‘Drink to Drown’ is by far a standout on this record. The soft, piano driven piece is sad, vulnerable and introspective, and for the first time, Fraser’s vocals take centre stage. Ironically, and in what might be considered by some a disappointment, it’s followed by ‘DWYW’, where Fraser’s voice is coated in autotune – and while it’s a super fun, accessible pop-punk track, you can’t help feel a little let down by this artistic decision.

That said, it’s a short lived disappointment as we’re then treated to ‘Silk & Satin’. This track is a delightful surprise – a far cry from its predecessor and other familiar sounding tracks such as ‘Like That’. Instead, ‘Silk & Satin’ is more abstract in its sound, a subdued yet powerful piece that – overall – could easily be pinned as the best song on the record, the delicate water droplets complimenting the softness of the synths that drive the track. 

Overall, ‘Pink ‘Elephant’ feels like a stepping stone for Stand Atlantic. They’re still recognisable as the band that released ‘Skinny Dipping’ and many of these songs wouldn’t feel out of place on their debut, but you can also see where they’re making an effort to progress and grow as a band. The familiarity is comforting and the surprises are pleasant ones. It will be interesting to see where the next few years take them, but for now, this is the perfect record to carry us through to that point.

YASMIN BROWN

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