Stand Atlantic – ‘Pink Elephant’ review: an adventurous sophomore album that finds strength in quietude

The Sydney band prove to be the new leaders of pop-punk on their ambitious second full-length

On their 2018 debut album ‘Skinny Dipping’, Stand Atlantic embraced the emotional side of pop-punk just like Tonight Alive or The Wonder Years did early on in their careers. That same bubbling excitement and hunger for a big, hooky chorus is carried over to sophomore effort ‘Pink Elephant’, the sugar rush of ‘Like That’ kicking things off with a skatepark anthem of buoyant rebellion.

Just when you think you know where the band are going with their second album, though, they drop in with the electronic storm of ‘Shh!’ A giddy mashup of modern-day Fall Out Boy and Bring Me The Horizon’s pop-metal, the track features vocalist Bonnie Fraser singing, “I keep forgetting where I wanna go… I never feel at home,” as the group toy with different influences.

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‘Pink Elephant’ never strays too far from Stand Atlantic’s pop-punk roots. The snarling ‘Jurassic Park’ is an explosive, forward-facing take on the genre that refuses to get weighed down by the rules. Meanwhile, the suburban riot of ‘Soap’ and the closing hyper-charged blitz of ‘Hate Me (Sometimes)’ are both indebted to the likes of Blink-182 and All Time Low, all smirking spirit and feel-good escape. Although those tracks provide the familiar foundations for ‘Pink Elephant’, it’s the more experimental side that really gives this record an edge.

‘Eviligo’ is a twinkling douse of atmospheric rock that keeps the warped energy up: “What a pretty little mess we’ll make,” sings Fraser with a grin. “I think you find me kind of weird though,” she continues, taking the self-deprecation of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ and giving it some of Panic! At The Disco’s show-stopping confidence, before returning to control on the cool and calculated ‘Blurry’.

The crunching beast of ‘Wavelength’ is more chaotic, cutting synths with something more brutal as the hyperactive track marries the alt pop of Charli XCX with metalcore’s dizzy decadence. It’s a wild ride that never feels out of place on ‘Pink Elephant’’s twisting exploration.

For all the loud adventure of album two, it’s the songs of quiet reflection that provide the most powerful moments. On the slow-burning ‘Silk And Satin’, Fraser pours her heart out over glitching beats (“I’m sick of telling myself I don’t need your help / I’m all I have”) as the track finds strength in being let down and in the softer side of things.

Meanwhile, the acoustic ‘Drink To Drown’ is a beautiful, heartfelt ode to being confused and overwhelmed. It struggles to see the light, but it still provides comfort with that lighters-up soar of the chorus that’s made for mass audience participation and deafening unity.

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The shape of pop-punk to come, Stand Atlantic have always stood at the more progressive end of the genre – and with ‘Pink Elephant’, they’ve really taken the lead in pushing things forward. Interesting, excitable and with a wicked sense of self, the album is full of big choruses and bigger dreams as the band wear their hearts on their sleeve and chase the thrill of the new.

Details

Stand Atlantic Pink Elephant

  • Release date: August 7
  • Record label: Hopeless Records
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