Release Date: Apr 7, 2017
Record label: Polyvinyl
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Garage Punk
The first few moments of White Reaper's The World's Best American Band consists of a roaring audience leading into the kind of song you could imaging nearly tearing down the foundation of some overcrowded stadium. It's an appropriate beginning for an album whose very title sounds like the kind of serious bragging done to impress just about anyone who is willing to listen. Impress it does though right from the opening thumps of the title track to the equally energetic closing track 'Another Day'.
The World's Best American Band is a title that might seem a little more prestigious in theory than it is when you actually comb the ranks of bands still making quality music today - at which point it sort of becomes like picking the best white American NBA player, insomuch as the production doesn't necessarily match the name value. Still, if you think of Best American Band as less of a title to claim and more of a thesis statement then it's hard to find a better distillation of what has made American rock great through the decades than White Reaper's second LP, The World's Best American Band. White Reaper have successfully made the leap from garage lo-fi to a sharper sound that has been the undoing of a number of less compelling indie bands.
Rock music hasn't been the sound of popular youth culture in a very long time and there is no shortage of real, systematic causes: the irreversible narrowing of radio and print media, the economic and logistical nightmare of putting five dudes and their gear on tour and the undeniable fact that rock bands are extremely bad at creating content for music's 24-hour news cycle . The competitive spirit, self-promotion, and obsession with quantifiable metrics that make hip-hop and pop music into a compelling spectator sport are invariably considered poor taste on and off-record. White Reaper , on the other hand, are from Louisville, KY--where the Muhammad Ali Center stands as a tribute to its native son who backed up the greatest anthology of shit talk ever heard.
The cliché "They're better live" was invented for bands like White Reaper. The records are good, but onstage is where the band's wonderfully scuzzy blend of pop-punk and garage rock goes stratospheric. It's rock for rock's sake, outfitted with the gleefully immodest stage vocabulary of an '80s hair-metal band: kick-flips, dueling guitar solos--cocky gestures the average introverted indie band avoids like asbestos.
White Reaper always had a little bit of AOR swagger knocking around the edges of their rambunctious garage rock style. Their debut album, White Reaper Does It Again, indulged in the occasional double-tracked guitar lead and Van Halen-esque bump and grind, though it was mostly swept aside by the full-throated attack of singer Tony Esposito and the clattering mess the trio whipped up in the studio. Their second album, The World's Best American Band, makes it clear right from the start that, this time around, White Reaper are embracing their album rock background with both hands, tying a bandana around their collective heads, and getting down to some radio-ready, nostalgia-driven good times, while answering the musical question almost nobody besides them ever thought to ask.
The Upshot: It's all about cutting loose and having a blast via catchy guitar-based rock & roll tunes. BY MICHAEL TOLAND Thank the gods there will always be a place for big, dumb guitar rock in the universe. Following in the footsteps of young bands like Biters, Louisville's White Reaper plunder their record collections for stray Sweet and Cheap Trick riffs and have themselves a time.