Get Ready for the Best – Stand Atlantic’s Forthcoming LP, ‘Was Here’

Even if you don’t know it yet, we are in what can only be known as a Stand Atlantic Summer. There are 53 days until their new record is out in the world, but with an advanced copy in our hands, we can proudly state that every Stand Atlantic record thus far includes multiple tracks that are ready to become immediate classics in the pop punk community.

Stand Atlantic didn’t have one big push into the spotlight; they gradually worked their way to the top with quality release after quality release. This summer’s release is no exception. To put it bluntly, WAS HERE is Stand Atlantic’s best album. It transcends the genre to become something completely original. It’s ready to become not just a staple in the pop punk scene, but a massive chapter in Stand Atlantic’s story.

The first aspect of this record that stands out is the use of electronics and synthesizers, making this the most ‘pop’ that the band has ever sounded. However, usually when critics discuss bands leaning in a poppier direction, it’s framed under a negative light – on the contrary, WAS HERE is how rock bands should go pop. They didn’t lose their emotion or signature sound; all that the pop elements do is enhance the fun. The guitar, bass, and drums are still clearly audible. There are no instruments sacrificed for the use of the electronics. Tracks like, “WAKE UP-SIT DOWN-SHUT UP,” “FREAKIN’ OUT,” and “ROCKSTAR” are a prime example of what we’re talking about – remember that when the record drops.

For every band thinking about utilizing more pop-leaning tones in their rock sound, listen to this album as inspiration. 

While we praise this album for having stellar pop hooks, it’s also simultaneously the heaviest Stand Atlantic album yet. How can those two things be true? We have no idea, so just listen to the record and you’ll understand. Collaborator Polaris has guttural screams on the bridge of “CRIMINAL” that made my jaw actually drop when I first heard it – not an exaggeration or metaphor. We had no idea the band had this heavy metal breakdown brewing inside them!

“WARZONE” and “SEX ON THE BEACH” were released as singles so fans could get a taste of the depth this album plays with, but fans have yet to fully understand the scope of it all. When they do, though? Everyone will be floored. Frontwoman Bonnie Fraser commits to unclear vocals and screams throughout the whole album that sound incredible (and it makes us wonder why screaming wasn’t incorporated on every Stand Atlantic record).

A track that deserves a special highlight is “17.” This is the most profound and commanding Stand Atlantic song ever made. It discusses an abusive relationship Bonnie had when she was a teenager. Her raw emotion sends shivers down my spine on every listen. She ferociously spits out, “I wish we never met” on the pre-chorus, and it feels like an explosion of passion leading into the chorus. The track’s outro slows down the guitars to deliver a beatdown-styled blow. It’s a soaring moment in the band’s career and one of the most powerful listening experiences all year. The storytelling, heavy subject matter, and masterclass in catchy songwriting on “17” is enough to push the album into any critics’ year end top ten lists. 

Something I usually try to avoid talking about in reviews are record covers; while, yes, the image and aesthetic of the music is important, at the end of the day, we’re here to analyze the music itself. However, with this release, I simply could not resist. WAS HERE is easily the most badass album art we’ve seen in a long time. It’s insane and shocking; once we laid eyes on it, we knew Stand Atlantic meant business. It’s the first record cover to feature the band members themselves, as well, and it is deeply striking. All four members are laid out on the ground, stark white, and being dragged in a pool of their own blood. After hearing the heavy moments on this record, it’s a perfect visual representation of the anarchy that feels like the music. This image also comes across strangely comic book-inspired, as well, leaning into the band’s playful territory. It’s the kind of album cover that is an instant classic, just like the music itself, and it all comes together perfectly and hauntingly.

The only negative aspect of the album is that the track “KILL[HER]” is used as the album closer. Although it was a fun single and a great track, it does not feel like the proper way to close out the experience that is this new record… especially when every single other track excels in massive ways. Having the record close with a safe song – one that came out ahead of the full LP, as well – is a bit of a letdown. If “KILL[HER]” was a standalone single or even placed earlier in the tracklist, it would flow much better, because every second of this album floored us and having a more classic Stand-Atlantic-sounding track close out the LP didn’t really give the grand finale we were hoping for. 

Overall, WAS HERE by Stand Atlantic is the definition of a band exploring new territories with their sound and succeeding at every turn. Pop punk purists may disavow it, but hardcore fans will defend it and the band will reach new heights. This one just incorporates everything that makes the band great in the first place, while also sounding like a whole new ground. Normally in a review we’d list some highlight tracks, but every single song is a highlight. There isn’t a miss on WAS HERE and fans of the genre and the band’s artistry should check it out as soon as they can on August 23.