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Music Reviews


f.e.a.r. (fuck everything and run)

Stand Atlantic
Released: 05.06.22
Review by shawnkupfer | May 3, 2022 at 1:00 PM
A

“A cynical and miserable high; can see the end of this in your eyes.”

The first time I heard f.e.a.r. by Stand Atlantic I was doing 80 miles an hour and, the more I think about it, the more I think that’s the perfect way to experience this record.

(Look, y’all, speed limits in Dallas are largely hypothetical. We’ve seen evidence they exist but most of us just agree they aren’t real. Like Bigfoot.)

I do a show on idobi Howl called Metal DNA and the thrust of that program is dissecting a band’s sound to see what influenced them. One of the first thoughts I had listening to this record was that Stand Atlantic would be a fascinating band to dissect. They’ve picked up lessons from pop-punk, for sure, but also from Pitchshifter-era drum ’n’ bass, from late-90s industrial, and from mid-2000s dubstep (because they certainly know when to let that beat drop hard).

Getting back to why this record is so good at 85 miles an hour. 

You’ve got the brightness and energy of pop-punk vocals but backed by the hard-edged drumming and synths that make you want to speed your car through a wall of burning TVs. It’s two totally different kinds of energy that are *just* held together enough to be channeled through some really excellent production and mixing. It’s weird. And it totally works.

There are tracks for the pop-punk traditionalists. Like “van gogh”, a track that wouldn’t have been out of place among any of the classics from New Found Glory or All Time Low. There’re songs that lean even poppier, like “dumb” (featuring guest vocals from Atlanta’s own prodigy Tom the Mail Man). 

The album really shines for me, though, on the tracks where Stand Atlantic is mixing up different styles. “hair out” plays with down-tuned guitars and drums that sound like they should be a drum machine with how perfect they hit (it’s really a human person named Jonno on the drums). 

“switchblade” is another standout, pairing the perfect drops of dubstep with the straight-80s guitar shred. And the drumming on “molotov [OK]” is next-level stuff. In fact, I blame that drumming for the fact I was doing 90 miles an hour.

Bonnie Fraser’s vocals are the secret sauce, connecting all the songs despite the (sometimes wildly different) style mashups. She’s the unifying voice, the throughline that makes this album hang together. Even when the guest vocalists take center stage, she’s the one coalescing the record into a real *album* rather than a random collection of songs.

f.e.a.r. is a fascinating record with tons of re-listenability, but it’s meant to be played loud. Put it on in the car, turn the volume up as loud as it’ll go, and do exactly the speed limit. Because speeding is wrong.

Stream it, Buy it, Skip it?: I’m buying it. You should buy it too. Then listen to it really, really loud.

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