Features, Music

Stand Atlantic: Addressing the elephants in the room

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Given the dizzying rate at which they rose to pole position in playlists and charts the world over, traditional methods fail us when it comes to documenting the evolution of Stand Atlantic.

Fortunately, the band have done the documenting for us. With their 2017 EP Sidewinder, we discovered this was an outfit with a vice grip on their pop punk sensibilities. With their debut album Skinny Dipping, released in 2018, the evidence showed this wasn’t just a group of feelers, but thinkers also.

Now, on the precipice of the release of Pink Elephant, album #2, we learn that Stand Atlantic are yet to reach their cruising altitude.

Pink Elephant was a decisive, calculated and ultimately successful effort to up their game; to reach the furthest quadrants of their sonic universe and, as we would learn speaking with vocalist Bonnie Fraser, to craft lyrics that didn’t just sound good, but could do good.

“Each song is a conversation that needs to happen,” Bonnie explains.

The title of the record serves as a portmanteau of sorts, combining the ‘pink elephant’ euphemism associated with delirium and ‘elephants in the room’, the metaphorical idiom used to describe a tactile presence that goes unaddressed.

In other words, allowing the issues we need to talk about to drive us mad by not talking about them.

“A lot of the time, we have these things in our head, these conversations we never want to have with someone,” Bonnie says. “They’re usually the ones that you need to have the most – the ones that make room for growth, afterwards, in yourself.”

It’s a philosophy that Bonnie takes to heart. She speaks with an air of experience when expanding on why it’s important to have open and honest conversations, uncomfortable though they may be. “I feel like when you don’t have these conversations that need to be had, you’re the only one dealing with it.”

“Your mind can warp it into something completely different and take it out of context. It can be detrimental if it’s a full on serious conversation you need to have.”

The prevailing wisdom of the album being that if you bite your tongue, “you can trip on your own problems” that needn’t be tripped on at all.

“Writing this album was like teaching me in a way, to open the fuck up,” Bonnie adds.

Some of the elephants addressed on the record include toxic love, as we see with the track ‘Blurry’. ‘Hate Me (Sometimes)’ tackles the oft neglected topic of self hate. Mental health and the inability to articulate one’s personal truth are also spoken to.

‘Do What You Want’ speaks to something far more specific to Stand Atlantic. That being, the consequences that come with a meteoric rise to the international stage, not unlike the one experienced by the band.

“With Skinny Dipping and Sidewinder, we got thrown in the deep end quite quickly, and we didn’t really know what to expect,” Bonnie explains. “I just feel like all these things just started happening and we didn’t have any time to process what was going on.”

“I think for this album, it’s a reflection on that in a sense that we had to take the ropes really quickly.”

High expectations, vested interests and the intimidating process of ‘the difficult follow up’ all contributed to fattening this particular elephant right up, and sharpening its tusks.

“It all just came to a point and I was just like, ‘All right, well maybe I’m just going to lie here and you can just throw your knives, whatever.’ But it’s important to not just lie on your back and let things happen, you do have to actually take control. Half of the pressure, I realised, was coming from myself, anyway.”

Bonnie spoke to the internal pressure Stand Atlantic placed on itself to not rest on any laurels. Taking stock of their output so far, Bonnie and the rest of the band recognised they’d written “a good rock record” with Skinny Dipping. “We just realised that we were capable of more than just that.”

“With Pink Elephant, we wanted to showcase that and create a very versatile album, but with the 100% intention of it being versatile. I think a lot of bands do come out with things like this [but] don’t really know what they’re doing. They’re just trying it, but everything single thing we did on this album was intentional.”

There’s no way to sugar coat it – Pink Elephant will be released in a global pandemic, and as such, opportunities for the band to spruik the record are few and far between. However, Stand Atlantic and their camp have taken considerable care in giving both the band, and their followers, something to not just look forward to, but work towards (Read: Wear your masks now!!!)

The band have confirmed a run of Australian headline tour dates for early 2021 and while they’re open to the harsh COVID-19 reality that the dates may need to be pushed back, or cancelled all together, they remain dedicated to providing fans with a light at the supposed end of the tunnel.

“It’s so hard because I feel like at the end of the day, no one actually knows what’s going to happen. We just have to hope for the best. So it’s a weird time and there’s a lot of uncertainty behind the scenes. We’ve definitely had to adapt in many ways, we’ve had to prepare for the fact that we may never play shows again…”

“At the end of the day, we wanted to give people something to look forward to.”

Pink Elephant is out Friday, 7th August


Stand Atlantic 2021 Australian Tour Dates

Friday, 26th February
Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Tickets: Stand Atlantic

Saturday, 27th February
The Zoo, Brisbane
Tickets: Stand Atlantic

Friday, 5th March
Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide
Tickets: Stand Atlantic

Saturday, 6th March
Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Tickets: Stand Atlantic

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