Release Date: Jul 17, 2015
Record label: Polyvinyl
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Garage Punk, Noise Pop
If you want to know what your favorite British Invasion band would sound like in 2015, you’re going to have to turn to Louisville, Kentucky. White Reaper still has a decidedly American sound, make no mistake, but that’s due mainly to their recording choices and a few rockabilly grooves here and there. The garage fuzz is the main indicator these guys are from the U.S.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. It's almost impossible to talk about White Reaper without mentioning their youth. This is not just because the four members are just entering their 20s, or because their name is taken from a Halloween decoration, but also because every single note and tone that springs out of their songs is screaming with vitality.
The guys in White Reaper don't fool around. They blast through the 11 songs on their debut album White Reaper Does It Again like they're late for the next gig, bashing and crashing happily with big dumb smiles on their faces. The same big old smiles those lucky enough to add the album to their libraries will have plastered on their mugs too. And really, if you love punky bubblegum or bubblegummy punk, you should own the record, no excuses.
Tear up your bedroom long enough and you’re bound to find something that really takes you back. Maybe it’s an ironic postcard? Or a creased ticket stub? Or a crumpled strip from that photo booth in Austin? Whatever it is, and however old you are, that token item will likely enlighten your subconsciousness in a way that simply closing your eyes never would. We need these things in life; it’s one of the strongest arguments against John Lennon’s idea of “no possessions.” Tangible objects hold so many feelings and emotions that our brain just can’t convey at any given moment.
After a fun debut EP from last year, White Reaper present their first long-player, White Reaper Does It Again. Much like its predecessor, White Reaper Does It Again finds the band making a garage rock-based racket throughout, combining pop-punk, garage rock and early grunge make for a catchy and a messy affair. Much like their self-titled EP, ...Does It Again has ear-worm songwriting paired with fuzzed out production, making for an overall engaging, if one-track, listen.
White Reaper's debut full-length delivers power-pop-tinged garage rock in the vein of past revivalist bands (the Hives, Strokes, Supergrass and Sloan). With punchy and infectious hooks soaked in shimmery reverb, White Reaper Does it Again offers good clean fun.The band embrace simplicity on "Sheila," the exuberant live feel emphasizing well-chosen chords combined with emphatic distortion on the song's sneak-attack chorus. Keyboard injections render "Make Me Wanna Die" irresistible, while "Alone Tonight" rides on a surf groove.
The Dickies are a great band: trailblazing, deceptively sophisticated, vastly enjoyable, and wholly underrated. It's hard to imagine White Reaper not sharing this opinion. White Reaper Does It Again, the cheekily titled debut album by the young, Louisville-spawned foursome, traffics in much of the same elements that the Dickies pioneered in the late '70s: bouncy pop-punk underpinned with classic songcraft; hockey-rink-ready keyboards.
Kentucky pop-punk quartet White Reaper tips their hand during the opening bars of their first proper LP, White Reaper Does It Again. The crashing drums, overdriven guitars and distorted melodies behind the simple arrangement of album opener “Make Me Wanna Die” barrel without interruption through the rest of the album’s pithy 34-minute runtime. This, it soon becomes clear, will be a record with no surprises—and no tricks.
The recent blossom of garage-punk revival bands (with its bract nestled comfortably in California) has been a good thing, but each act that joins the scene seems compelled to combine the genre with something else: Ty Segall folding in Syd Barrett’s spacey experiments, King Tuff adding a thick glam sheen, Hunx And His Punx reimagining it as a form of Brill Building pop, etc. Kentucky newcomers White Reaper have no interest in any such highbrow hybrids; these guys like their punk the way its ’70s originators did—loud, snotty, and absolutely unrestrained. Nailing both the who-gives-a-shit attitude and execution of the source material, the band’s frenzied debut White Reaper Does It Again takes the prize for purity.
White Reaper Does It Again is the type of album meant to be listened to with the volume cranked to 11. The Kentucky band’s debut full-length is a giddy, distorted powerpop mess indebted to the Exploding Hearts and contemporaries Twin Peaks. Opening song Make Me Wanna Die goes straight for the throat, with lead singer Tony Esposito yelling catchy chorus melodies between repeating keyboard lines sweeter than honey.
The Upshot: Louisville garage rockers wed grimy songs to scuzzy lo-fi production for a set full of grubby sweet pleasures. Some forty years ago, two great minimalist bands, the Ramones and AC/DC,taught us that a great album (or even albums) can have the same or verysimilar songs. Sad to say, many punk and rock bands heard them and thought“me too!” when they just recycled the same crappy song again and again.
You know about the big releases each week, but what about the smaller albums which may have passed underneath your radar? We’ve rounded up nine of the best new album releases from this week, from Sea Of Bees’ folkie emotion to De Lux’s disco shimmies: don’t miss out..