I want everyone to take a moment to appreciate the thematic significance of this band, Stand Atlantic, releasing their pandemic album called f.e.a.r. on Hopeless Records, and opening with a track called “doomsday.” “Got a panic room with a view like a tomb with windows that show me bad news” is a poignant lyric that kicks the album off sharply.
Before I can keep up with an anxiety-inducing amount of stanzas on hopelessness we arrive at “pity party (feat. Royal & the Serpent),” my favorite track from the group. On the album, it’s a swelteringly catchy song that ends in a fun skit, it tickles my blink-182 funny-bone real good-like but I would be remiss not to mention the “pity party (hyperpunk remix)” as it is a blissful noise bath.
Each track punches as hard as it growls. The bass on “dumb (feat. Tom The Mail Man)” slaps so hard I got sent back to 1995 to skydive/rollerblade with The Power Rangers. I could gush more about the production and composition of this amazing album, and I will, but I want to draw attention to Act 1 of this album and the fact that every other track has a feature on it.
I’ve already mentioned the previous two, but the third, “deathwish (feat. nothing, nowhere.)” has an amazing hyperpop feel that fits the featured artist as well as Bonnie Fraser’s immaculately versatile voice. “nails from the back” aches with anxiety and I love a pop-punk band that knows how to write a song that can be for more than just pop-punk fans and this band brings that without fear, or should I say…with…f.e.a.r.? Sorry. Track 9, “bloodclot,” dissolves into twinkly guitars and warm bass that grooves. The vocals fly over everything delivering lines like, “I know that you hate it/Crippling your patience/Am I just a blood clot stuck in your veins? and “Do you think I’m good for you, honestly?” helps stake the plot of the album back into your heart.
Let’s talk about Act 2 of this album now which I count as everything from Track 7 to the end. This band is great at genre-bending rhythms, soaring vocals that know when to growl for poignancy, and slapping bass that fattens the battleground of sound. When this band drops the heavy production we saw in Act 1 and just lets the band shine with their amazing vocalist I would argue that they rival Paramore at their best.
It’s tacky to mention streaming stats (see Trapt), but I would be remiss not to mention that the back half of this album is sorely lacking in the numbers compared to Act 1. THAT’S NOT A CRITIQUE OF THE SONGS, please, don’t mistake it for that. One of my favorite tracks, “xo”, comes in at barely more than 1% of the plays of their most popular song “deathwish.” I blame the youth and this darn music culture but I’ll shake my fist at clouds another day. This band kicks ass and is everything that I grew up loving about pop-punk while seeming to also include every other nostalgic mile marker for wayward suburbanites.
I can’t tell what flavors I’m enjoying at any given moment like a good salted caramel. Huge arena drums that give way to hardcore breakdowns, trap drums under nu-metal chugs, RIFFS, and again, the skits, the production, the tight instrumentation, everything is right where I want it to be and I can’t stop going back. If you are tempted to only listen to the singles, check “molotov [OK],” the 3rd single is a sonic punch with words that I hope fill you with enough dread and…f.e.a.r. (I’m sorry) that you’ll have to spin the whole album. Especially to get to the fun outtake titled “i wonder what kind of garlic bread they eat at MENSA” that serves as nothing more than a cap on this adventure. Some people aren’t fans of skits, outtakes, and hidden little oddities in albums but I’ll be damned if they don’t make me smile.