You’ll Never See The Bigger Picture If You’re Standing That Close
by Atlantic Wasteland
There are plenty of perks to being a fan of local bands. From the ridiculously cheap merch, to becoming close friends with the band, to being able to get into shows (for me as a photographer). Those perks also included the opportunity to listen to a full-length album in advance and getting the chance to review it from front to back. Atlantic Wasteland’s frontman, Sam Quatrini, asked if I was interested in getting the album in advance and writing a review, to which I of course said yes. This is definitely something I’ve never done before but am extremely excited to dive right into.
If you follow my blog and my other forms of social media, you may know that my boyfriend has his own movie review blog, under the alias Oberrated. Being that we are both such avid local music fans, with my foot deep into the world of music and his analytical mind for reviewing movies, I thought it would be a great idea for us to team up for this review. So without further ado, let’s dive into the new Atlantic Wasteland album, You’ll Never See The Bigger Picture If You’re Standing That Close.
1.But If You Step Back…
A haunting introduction to the album. As a whole, we can both see the band playing this song as an introduction to a show, adding a suspenseful feel to the start.
The first full length track on the album. It mixes melody and energy with heavy and relatable lyrics.
Abby: This song definitely plays off of Atlantic Wasteland’s familiar sound. Current fans of the band will specifically like it for that reason. It is also one of the many songs that will speak to many, being as relatable as it is. I really like the line, “I’m learning how to cope with what I feel”, mainly because I’m sure many of us have had moments in our lifetime where we struggled to figure out how we were supposed to feel, instead of just focusing on how we do feel. We’re just stuck in this constant battle.
Chris: Ausinette’s (Rodriguez, Aus for short; lead vocals, hype woman) first intro to the song is incredible. She counters the heavy tone of the lyrics with melody. The joining of Sam and Aus creates a battle between two parties or even a person versus their own mind.
3. Don’t Call Me Your Bud
Track 3 is a punk heavy pop/punk song, seemingly about betrayal, with intense lyrics and lots of lyric screaming. Oh, and a cool Johnny Cash-esque bridge.
Abby: Well, if you enjoy songs with some screaming in them, this one is for you, lol. Although I’m not the biggest fan, I don’t find it to be all that distracting like I normally would. To me, it feels like a classic revenge song. Lines like, “I hope the weight you carry never loses weight” and “now you’re deep/ you’re deep in this mess you’ve made/ and now you’ll sleep/ you’ll sleep alone in an empty bed,” really hold their weight. It’s a reminder that someone really screwed up and there are no chances left for them. They are cut off. I know I personally can relate, on my own level, to the premise of the song. We’ve all had our share of betrayal, and I feel this track portrays that feeling extremely well. From the screaming to the cutthroat lyrics, it is an intense way of expressing the feeling of this betrayal.
Chris: Starts off with a frantic pace, which carries throughout the song. Quickly met with an angst-filled Sam, seemingly yelling at the thought of an old friend or an individual. To me, it seems as if this song comes from the perspective of one side of a former friendship. Aus and Sam join to sing about their ill feelings about the other party. The energy of this song is simply infectious.
4. Unfamiliar Home
The next track is one of three pre-released singles. A song about a home that may have never truly been a home that has a sick lead in to the next song on the album.
Abby: I don’t really have much of an in-depth analysis on this song. Maybe it’s because I have heard it at least a million times, since it was one of the three singles released. It has less of Sam screaming in it, but that doesn’t keep the passion from seeping through every lyric. If I’m being honest, I’m having trouble pinpointing what I feel the song is about, but I’m sure it’ll be different for different people. From what I’m gathering, it makes me think about our life’s journey, whether we know exactly where we are going or not. One of the lines that really stuck out to me was “it was the people around me that made me feel alive”. It’s definitely a song that isn’t as obvious with its deeper meaning. I guess that’s what makes it fun, though. I also love that it transitions right into the next tune without even skipping a beat.
Chris: When I think Atlantic Wasteland, I think of songs that sound exactly like this. As always, a high energy track that blends emo vibes and lyrics from the perspective of someone wishing for different outcomes.
It’s strange, but when I listen to this song, I can envision a music video of something like “Perfect” by Simple Plan, with Aus and Sam screaming the lyrics of “Unfamiliar Home” alone in their bedrooms, plastered with pop punk and punk rock band posters, with the occasional Taylor Swift cutout.
5. It’s Rude to Point Fingers (And With Nails That Sharp, I’ll Be Missing an Eye)
This song is an edgy and emo track with an overwhelmingly powerful meaning behind it. It was released with Unfamiliar Home as the third and final single prior to the album’s release.
Abby: Really long song title, haha. This was also another one of the singles released in advance of the album. Of course, it is the heavier single, but it’s got a strong tone to it. It seems to be from the perspective of someone who was abused, in some way, in one of their relationships (significant other, friend, family, etc.). The victim in this case is finally putting their foot down to this person and not letting their fear of them get to them anymore. This person has mistreated them for far too long. Lines such as, “I refuse to be a body bag”, “the condescending words you spoke, they echo through my mind with every note/ I understand that I’m the enemy/ I’ll have those scars for eternity”, and “if I spoke my mind, you’d say I was wrong”, are some of the real kickers for me. This is a very strong song, and it’s definitely one of my favorites. From the absolutely crazy guitar and drums, to Aus’ melody, Sam’s passionate screams at the end, and the resilient vibe the lyrics bring, make it an all around great song.
Chris: From the title, it seems to be about someone who doesn’t pay any mind to the things they say and do, causing damage to everyone they connect with. The main person affected, is the one in which the lyrics are spoken for. The guitar is unreal here. It matches the vibes and the energy of the song, just to lead into one final screaming hook.
Track 6 is a song about losing touch with a friend/family member, in which the melancholic tone is captured within the lyrics and the consistent beat.
Abby: When it comes to new albums, I’m always interested in what the slower songs are gonna be about and how they’ll sound. When it comes to heavier genres, such as pop/punk, the slower/sad songs are still a little more upbeat as far as the music goes. Acquaintance is a song about fading friends. I think my favorite line is “… and I blame this all on journey”, because it’s very true. Most friendships fade because of individual journeys taking us in separate directions. It’s about those moments when we reminisce about the ‘good old days’ and wanting to reconnect. It’s a relatable and powerful song and I really feel like the background music (drums, guitar, bass, etc.) just add more to the solemn vibe of the song. If you ever had a close friend in which you two just lost touch, you will really feel every single lyric of this song.
Chris: This is easily the one song that struck the hardest chord for me. Personally, it reminded me of friends lost, even to the point where a couple tears came from my eyes. Acquaintance, I feel, will be one of the most relatable songs to listeners in multiple ways. Whether it be a former friend, loved one, family member, etc.
7. Whether You Think You Can or Can’t, You’re Right
The next track is a BOP. From the inspiring and eye-opening lyrics, to the foot tapping beat, it’s an all around lighthearted tune that will make you want to get up and dance.
Abby: Here we change gears a bit from the last song, and get a little more upbeat. Atlantic Wasteland is one of those bands that has songs that never say the title in the song. But they actually say it in this song, which caught me by surprise. Aside from the singles, this song is one of my favorites. It talks about believing in yourself and that if you surround yourself with negativity, that’s all you’ll ever see. On the contrary, if you surround yourself with nothing but positivity, you’ll start to see a lot more of it. It’s a very inspiring tune and it’s got an upbeat and fun sound to it. The guitar is fantastic, as always, and the drums (especially at the beginning) will make you want to tap your foot along with them. It would be a great song live, for many reasons, specifically because of the echo in the bridge. It’s a great song to keep the audience engaged.
Chris: Entertainment wise, this is probably my favorite song off the album. The pacing, the energy, the lyrics. It’s just overall a fun yet pop/punk, edgy, F you kind of vibe.
Beyond my enjoyment of the song, the title and the lyrics are quite unique. To me, it’s all about mindset. “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right”. You are exactly what you think. If you set your mind for failure, well you’ll fail. If you think you can, you will. Don’t let the fun of this song distract you, it is hella important.
8. It’s Mid-July, Take Off The Beanie
Track 8 was the first single released from the album. It’s a super funky and fun song that you won’t be able to sit still while listening to.
Abby: Heck yes, probably my favorite song off of the album. I knew it was going to be as soon as I first heard it live. It’s super funky and the beat is just so damn catchy. For real, it’s an ear worm. I’ve heard the origin story a good number of times since I see the band live so often. It’s fairly obvious, but it’s basically about a person who is a player, and the words are being spoken from the perspective of a friend of the person being flirted with. I can’t say enough how much I love this song. It’s got a very different sound than the entire rest of the album, and differs from the typical sound you’d expect from Atlantic Wasteland. They are just putting their toes in the water of the pop world but speaking as someone who has loved pop music her whole life, they do it justice. This would be a great radio single too… although I’d rather it not be overplayed, like every song on the radio is, lol.
Chris: The very first track released as a single. Easily the most fun and differently styled song from Atlantic Wasteland. I remember having a conversation with Aus and Sam about a song that was “way more funkier than what we’re used to”. I first heard this song at Four Chord Music Festival and I was INSTANTLY hooked. After the performance, I remember talking to the duo and told them that as soon as I heard the rhythm of the song I went “OOOOOOOOOOOOO SHIT!”. That type of energy stills stands today every time the song hits my Spotify. Get down with you funky selves, Atlantic Wasteland.
P.S. F dudes who wear beanies mid July.
9. A Dog Named Fletcher
For the next track, we slow things down with a sad song from the perspective of a scared dog. Have tissues nearby.
Abby: So I have mixed emotions with this song. On one end, it’s a genius song idea. It’s written in the perspective of a dog at the veterinarian that doesn’t know what the heck is going on. And on the other end, IT’S SO SAD. If you’re anything like me, you hate watching dogs/animals die in movies (I live for doesthedogdie.com). If you are, worry not! The dog LIVES. Sam’s idea for the song came from a friend whose dog ate a towel (or a sock.. he’s changed the story) and had to get it removed. The bridge gets me every time. Aside from the lyrics, I freaking love everything else about the song. I’d only ever heard the song acoustic and it just works. It’s the only song on the album recorded with acoustics. Sam and Aus’ vocals really shine in this song. Aus has a note at the end of the bridge that is just captivating. (If you listen closely, you can hear Sam scream something like “oh yeah!”)Fair warning, if you have any kind of a heart, you will need tissues at your side. Can’t stress that enough.
Chris: Listened to this song many times acoustically and live. Always been emotional and great to listen to. For some reason, despite listening to it so many times, hearing the studio version still struck a nerve in me and ignited my tear ducts. This song will have you running to your doggo, cat, bird, alligator, etc. and cuddling up to them telling them how much you love them.
Alternatively, this song is such a unique perspective to envision. From the eyes and mind of a pet in the vet hospital.
For the next track, we pick up the pace again. With lyrics and music that embody what it’s like to be human and have feelings, and vocals that are just powerful, we have another important message portrayed through song.
Abby: Once you’ve wiped your eyes, you can recover by enjoying the next track on the list. It seems to be a song about embracing our humanity and allowing ourselves to just scream. We can only handle so much and bottle things up, claiming that we have thick skin and can handle it, when in reality, it does affect us and our, “skin isn’t quite as rough as I’d proclaim”. I do think this is a great song, incorporating their newfound sound, as well as their ‘old’ sound.
Chris: Of all the tracks on the album, I feel as if this may be my least favorite. I can’t exactly put my finger on why, and this is also not saying that I dislike it cause I do like the energy and sound but it just sounds very similar to basically any other song within this genre. I didn’t find much to dig deeper into. Just simply a high energy song to jam to.
11. The Corpse Bride & Flat Stanley
Our second to last song on the album, is another banger. The title is… interesting. But it’s written from a personal experience. It’s a mix of classic pop/punk and the band’s ‘newfound’ funky/pop sound.
Abby: This song, to me, feels like a song about celebration. It feels like a song meant for a significant other, or a friend, promising to be by their side and to love them unconditionally. We all have our baggage, and some of our pasts are worse than others. But the people we keep in our lives that make us better people, are more important than anything we’ve dealt with in the past. If I remember correctly, Sam wrote this song about someone who flirted with his fiancé and he compared the person’s appearance to a character called Flat Stanley. Where the Corpse Bride came from, you’d have to ask Sam, hahaha. It seems like a song celebrating love of all kinds, I think. The sound still feels like an Atlantic Wasteland type sound, but, like the last song, it incorporates more of what I like to call, their newfound sound. It’s a great song to help close out the album. It also sounds great when played live. After all the emotions this album has made us feel, it’s a nice way to celebrate the life we live.
Chris: The last two songs are evident to hit close to home for Sam. He explained at a live show that this one was inspired by personal experience and that carries a long way to me as a listener. As always, not only is it an enjoyable song audibly and lyrically, but also as an interesting story.
12. …You Just Might See It
Track 12 is our closer to the album. It’s essentially a mix of all of the different sounds AW explored throughout the course of the album. It seems to take all of the feelings we felt and ties them up in a pretty bow.
Abby: Here we have our finale to the album. First off, this song would make a great closer to a live show.. or before the encore. To me, it feels like a song of hope. Written from a semi-religious standpoint, the song shows us that we cannot get so caught up in all of the problems and obstacles life throws at us, which is all too easy to do. It’s our reminder to look at ourselves from an outside perspective and see all of the wonderful things we get to experience in our own individual adventures. It really drives the album title home, by literally finishing the statement about perspective. Fantastic way to wrap up the album.
Chris: …You Just Might See It is an exceptional song on multiple fronts.
1. It is a beautiful reflection of Sam and company and the point they have gotten to thus far in life. To be thankful and to see the bigger picture in all things.
2. It is a near perfect wrap-up of an album about perspective. Throughout the whole album, we’re taken on a journey of multiple perspectives and different stories that tie to them. With this, we come to the finale and, once again, a way to look at the bigger picture in life and appreciate it and be thankful.
3. Track 1 vs. Track 12. Us, as an audience, are given an album by artists and we listen from beginning to end or shuffled. Analyzing, listening, and enjoying each song, but do we actually pay attention? Take a step back, take everything in, look at the bigger picture from all angles, and You.Just.Might.See.It.
The album as a whole:
Abby: Just… wow. This album was incredible. I expected nothing but the best from Atlantic Wasteland, and yet they exceeded my wildest expectations. The music was a wide variety of different sounds from their pop/punk roots, to adding a bit of funky pop to the mix, down to acoustic pop/punk, as well as a mixture of it all. It was an emotional roller coaster. It will make you want to scream at the top of your lungs, it’ll make you want to cry, it’ll make you smile, and it’ll inspire you. It’s an album all about perspective. Each song is written in a different perspective, from someone who has dealt with abuse, to the loss of a friendship, to a scared doggy, it’s a vast mix of everything and it’s quite genius if you ask me.
I’ve never listened so in depth to an album from the beginning to the end and this one was certainly an experience. This album made me feel like I was watching a movie. From the introduction to the band at the beginning, with their traditional pop/punk roots, with songs such as, Paradox, and Unfamiliar Home. To the middle of the album, where we see all of the different problems and changes come into play. Here we have songs such as It’s Mid-July, Fletcher, and Whether You Think You Can Or Can’t. These are songs in which I noticed a major change in sound versus the songs I’ve heard from them before, which I love. And lastly, we have the “happy” ending if you will. The ending is a revelation, of sorts. It reminds us not to sweat the little things and to focus more on the bigger picture as well as the things that make us happy. Our last two songs, Thin-Skinned and …You Just Might See It give us inspiration. They gave me hope.
If you haven’t already, look at the album title. Then, check out the title of track 1. And finally, the title of track 12… mind blown 🤯
I don’t have anything bad to say about this album. It took me places, mentally, that I didn’t even realize I knew. It scared me, even, to think about some of the ideas these songs covered. It was an incredible piece of art that I’m so happy I had the chance to experience. To my friends in Atlantic Wasteland, I’m so proud of you and so proud of this album. Great work. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for you next. I also can’t wait to see the live shows that follow the album, and which songs will be played. Bravo.
Chris: Arguably one of my favorite albums released among my favorite local artists. I will be jamming to “You’ll Never See the Bigger Picture If You’re Standing That Close” for the remainder of the year and on. If you want to jam out and go off, this album is the proper one for you. If you want to sit at the bottom of your bath tub and pretend like you’re not crying and that it’s just the water from the shower head, listen to these tracks. If you want to be taken on a journey through different perspectives from different walks of life, this is undoubtedly the album for you.
If you read through all of this, thank you! I put blood, sweat, and tears, into this review and hope it, at the very least, got you to go listen to the album, in full, on your own. Legit though, I lost the last part of this post because it didn’t autosave and had to completely redo it, lol. Below are some photoshoot photos I did of the band that I never shared. Thank you!