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Australia seems to have got it recently. From Amyl and the Sniffers to The Chats, Australia has been producing acts with a 21st-century punk rock sound. Stand Atlantic takes its rightful place among Australia’s punk pantheon with their newest album F.E.A.R.
Stand Atlantic (initially known as What It’s Worth) was formed in 2012 as a four-piece band in Sydney, New South Wales. Five years, several EPs, and one unlikely Ariana Grande (“Break Free” in 2016) cover later, the band was signed to Hopeless Records. A supporting slot for New Found Glory’s tour of Australia cemented this act as the future of driving pop-punk in Oceania. From their founding, Stand Atlantic has been unabashed about letting their poppier, even dancier influences shine through, crafting songs that have an edge while maintaining a dance floor sensibility. Above everything else it seems, Stand Atlantic wants you to have fun and who can find fault in that? F.E.A.R. is Stand Atlantic’s first (post?) COVID-19 album. And what an album it is.
F.E.A.R. kicks off with a bang. The album opener “Doomsday” begins with an unmistakable electronic menace, sounding a lot like The Spits before vocalist Bonnie Fraser swoops in and makes the song into a joyfully defiant ode to the new normal of a fresh apocalypse every morning. The COVID-19-era exhaustion is palpable here as in so many albums recently released but the energy is bright and hopeful.
Another album standout is definitely “Pity Party” which features the talented New Jersey native Royal and the Serpent. There is more than a passing resemblance to early Avril Lavigne’s work on this jam and the shouted chorus of “fake b*tch energy!” is just a fun time and doesn’t really require deep reading.
So much of this album shares that same energy. Feelings of anger, certainly but confusion as well and the creeping suspicion that things may never return to whatever the normal was we had enjoyed before our shared worldwide plague experience. “Cabin Fever” features ire against the machine that creates, and sometimes destroys, popstars while sounding a lot like late ’90s nu-metal. “Molotov” sees the band enter almost early Boston hardcore territory with its chorus of “ok, ok, ok.” But uniting all these songs are the commonalities of emotions that we have all been feeling for the past too many years long.
F.E.A.R. by Stand Atlantic is a nice piece of modern pop-punk and it represents a young band hitting its stride and finding its voice. With this effort, Stand Atlantic has something for everyone, no small feat in a world so starkly divided. There is more than enough polish on these songs to make them palatable for a broad audience while still maintaining enough raw edge to satisfy rowdier fans. In short, F.E.A.R. has what you need whether your choice is the club or the pit.
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