In Kentucky, there is an abundance of two things: cheap beer and time.
Bring in four young men who have a nostalgic obsession with American arena-rockers of the seventies and eighties, who possess an electric energy and drive to become the next in line, and you collectively create White Reaper.
If the band is new to you, you have the unique joy of experiencing their previous two records, ‘White Reaper’ and ‘White Reaper Does It Again’ (very witty), with fresh ears. Both were highly acclaimed by critics and stalwarts of the guitar-led garage rock genre, yet did not find much mainstream success outside of the niche. That’s a shame, too, because the band is one of the most exciting bands I have ever seen live. They absolutely destroy the small rooms they have played in to date, treating them as if it were the main stage at Lollapalooza, or more appropriately, Woodstock. To put it in perspective, in 2015 they were booted from their opening slot on tour with indie darlings Alvvays because they rocked so fucking hard that they couldn’t be followed.
Now the group is back yet again to rock our worlds with their third full-length ‘The World’s Best American Band’, released on Friday, April 7th (listen on Spotify). From the very first song, opening with crowd cheers and an infectious drum beat, Kentucky natives White Reaper establish in tongue-in-cheek fashion that their name is one of the greats the rock ‘n roll world.
From the heavy guitar and supersonic drums to their more polished lyrics, the album is a cohesive monster, with strong hints of garage punk heavily influencing their work. Working with producer Kevin Ratterman, who boasts a resume of working with artists like My Morning Jacket and Young Widows, the band’s third effort is one that simply must be heard.
Lead single “Judy French” is incredibly catchy, making the listener want to drop everything and start dancing, no matter where they are (this may or may not be from personal experience of listening as I sit in crowded spaces). As lead singer Tony Esposito sings, “Now stop / Read my message and tell me what you think / Let me lean close listen to your heartbeat,” it is easy to tell that the band is not only incredibly polished musically, but lyrically as well.
From “The Stack,” all the way to the final track, “Another Day,” the album keeps the listener’s full and undivided attention, each song having some unique aspect that necessitates a second listen. From inventive synth lines to irresistible melodies that stay stuck in your head for the rest of the day, the diversity across the album leaves everyone feeling satisfied. When listening, I urge that fans listen cover to cover for the full experience, as listening in order provides quite an amazing experience in hearing the band’s multitude of sounds.
Following the release of the album, White Reaper are hitting the road. They aim for every person attending to leave their show satisfied, no matter where they are in the crowd. Given their music, it is no surprise that Esposito suggests that attendees “be nice to everybody, cause you’re gonna get close.” The tour kicks off on April 23rd in Houston, and they will be hitting plenty of cities over the next months, including festival stops at Hangout, Bunbury, and Bonnaroo.
Grab ‘The World’s Best American Band’ on Bandcamp for $8-17, with options ranging from digital download to limited edition 180-gram red vinyl.
Check out White Reaper’s website for all tour dates, as well as their music and social media links.