Stand Atlantic – ‘F.E.A.R.’ review: Hard-edged third album by Sydney pop-punks

Stand Atlantic’s aggressive new album occasionally cuts the defiance with humour

In 2020, Stand Atlantic gently expanded their genre boundaries with ‘Pink Elephant’. Never straying too far from the emotional pop-punk of 2018’s debut album ‘Skinny Dipping’, the Sydney band’s second album was a careful, considered statement, its flirtations with hyper-pop, heavy metal and electronics designed to challenge expectations.

There’s nothing subtle about third album ‘F.E.A.R’ (or ‘Fuck Everything And Run’). Described by vocalist Bonnie Fraser as an “anti-concept” album, ‘F.E.A.R.’ is a “fuck you to the conventional bullshit Hollywood-style story that musicians tell you fell out of their ass” – and it wastes no time getting aggressive. Opener ‘Doomsday’ is a glitching electro punk song designed to soundtrack chaotic raves while the arena rock of ‘Pity Party’ soars on a chorus that goes  “fuck you and your fucking pity party”.

This snotty attitude could easily feel childish, and there are definitely moments of teenage rebellion across the album. “I like things I hate,” Fraser sings on the pop-punk thrash of ‘Van Gogh’ before threatening to cut off her ear because “I’d do anything to shut you up”.

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But ‘F.E.A.R.’ has the bold, experimental songs to back up that swagger. Stand Atlantic team up with emo rapper Nothing, Nowhere for the industrial sneer of ‘Deathwish’ while the moody ‘Cabin Fever’ flirts with nu-metal and features Fraser’s actual mum asking “honey, where’s the next big hit?”. ‘Molotov (OK)’ is a hardcore mosh pit starter with Fraser spitting venom over punishing drums while the misleadingly titled ‘Don’t Talk (To Me)’ is a chirpy outsider anthem.

Despite the frustrations, Stand Atlantic still keep things upbeat on ‘F.E.A.R.’. ‘Hair Out’, a song hitting back at fans criticising bands for trying something new, features a voice note from Fraser that says “I just sold out so fucking hard” before she calls the band “MILF Atlantic”. The closing track is a 40-second burst of studio laughter called ‘I Wonder What Kind Of Garlic Bread They Serve’.

The whole album has a “fuck you” attitude but there’s not a moment of ‘F.E.A.R.’ that isn’t driven by passion. There are no half-measures as Stand Atlantic throw themselves into every musical idea. Lyrically, the band tackle self-doubt, self-expression and the weight of living with the expectations of others with a no-nonsense clarity. Yes, ‘F.E.A.R. is an album of rebellion – but amid all the messy chaos, it offers understanding and empowerment.

Details

1300 mixtape Foreign Language
  • Release date: May 6
  • Record label: Hopeless Records
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