I first heard of three-piece New South Wales pop rockers, Stand Atlantic, back in early January; I was lucky enough to catch the tail end of their set supporting US pop punk act Knuckle Puck. The band hit the scene in 2015, though it wasn’t really until last year’s EP Sidewinder—which featured the track ‘Coffee At Midnight’—that they really began demanding wider attention.
Stand Atlantic’s sophomore LP is titled Skinny Dipping: it opens with ‘Lavender Bones’—the first single, released several weeks ago. There’s a verse of punchy palm-muted guitar that’s complemented by tight drumming, with accented snare that hits throughout. The chorus is vocally and lyrically one of the strongest on the album. It’s a song about ‘faking it until you make it,’ evident by the incredibly catchy “I could cover it up” hook. Bonnie Fraser utilises brief but memorable falsetto, and the half-time groove that brings it to a close is a great addition.
Next up is ‘Bullfrog,’ beginning with a semi-muted vocal/drum intro. It’s upbeat, with punk drumming and an energetic chorus. The second chorus, however, warrants being fully backed by the band, and the melodies aren’t quite as strong. That said, the bridge lets Bonnie’s vocals shine through. The title track ‘Skinny Dipping’ is a song about taking chances, with pop/country style chords, nice cleans, and a poppy drum beat. The vocals are warm, the second verse of palm muting is strong, and it even has some whistling.
‘Cigarette Kiss’ has some nice acoustics, great drumming, and layered guitar work calling to mind something from The Goo Goo Dolls. As for ‘Burn In The Afterthought,’ the rolling drum beat, note progression, and hooky “keep me on the tip of your tongue” chorus give it an early Paramore feel.
‘Lost My Cool’—the second single released—is the clear standout track. The slow-building guitar is a unique inclusion with a chorus that’s catchy as hell, and lyrically, it’s Bonnie’s best work; the “trade my name” hook is excellent. ‘Speak Slow’ and ‘Clay’ are two of the somewhat blander tracks; the former features punk guitars and tight drumming, but the chorus lyrics are lacking something. However, the harmonies, and a bridge involving some “woahs,” bring it back around. The acoustic rhythmic pattern in ‘Clay’ isn’t particularly engaging, but the second verse has great drive and a memorable bridge. A short solo helps to bring it full circle.
‘Toothpick’ is a beautiful vocal-focussed ballad with mostly guitar and harmonies that fill it out. Bonnie uses some great analogies for what it means to be with someone you know isn’t good for you. ‘Roses’ is the closing track, and it’s just an all-round impressive pop rock number; tight palm-muted guitar, great melodies and the bass all shine through.
Stand Atlantic is driven mostly by one guitar and drums, so it’s primarily left to vocalist/guitarist Bonnie Fraser to carry the songs. Her candid lyrics and angsty delivery prove that she’s more than capable of doing so. I wouldn’t get all your gear off for Skinny Dipping but it’s well worth putting your toes in the water.
Skinny Dipping is out now.
You can purchase Skinny Dipping here.
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