Going from Does It Again to The World’s Best American Band is quite a leap and in the same way no different. The Kentucky based band, White Reaper is determined to make a splash as, if not actually an absolutely phenomenal band, then a band who is having too much fun trashing those uppity notions in the first place. While an ode to classic rock, White Reaper is hardly classic. Their second and latest release The World’s Best American Band takes the listener on one hell of a ride full of guitar licks ad infinitum.
The album begins with an admission ticket to a stadium packed full of adoring fans. White Reaper casually begins with some cheering that sets the mood well for a rock ‘n’ roll anthem. With claps and guitar riffs, the opener and title track is appropriate. The following track, “Judy French,” follows up with a less anthem inspired, maybe punk-wannabe pop rock. There’s signs of a love-song being in there and when wrapped up with some rather expressive vocals it makes for a catchy listen at the least.
Right before I reached for the word ‘lackluster’, the band decided to spin something more accessible my way. Before proceeding; it’s pretty difficult to imagine anybody who isn’t willing to get into some real cheesy rock to enjoy this. At a glance, White Reaper is a love-letter to classic rock, and if you’re not looking for that sort of thing, it may be hard to indulge. For a moment, I almost forgot to indulge, but then the band’s charm won me over.
Track three, “Eagle Beach,” suckered me into The World’s Best American Band rather quickly. Something about the shimmering vibe of high, distorted notes attacking in barrage. But actually, the song plays out with an almost more genuine energy that keeps things feeling fresh throughout. The vocals don’t seem overbearing, which wasn’t really an issue, but it’s nice to see a proper balance. Add in a quick yet satisfying guitar solo and the song comes together as a, “but wait, there’s more.”
Across the ups and downs of energetic guitar riffs and pulsating keys of the next few tracks, White Reaper’s unique rock style began to really take form. There’s times where I hear influences from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and there’s times where I think I’m listening to a Saturday morning cartoon. In spite of just calling White Reaper some kind of homage to classic rock, it seems like there’s something more here –a sort of inventiveness and prolific ability. “Little Silver Cross” delivers a sweeping solo, brief but surprising. “Party Next Door” balances texture –sometimes keeping it simple and sometimes exploding. The band pulls off a variety of tricks across all of their songs and it keeps things interesting.
Towards the end of this novel and wild album, White Reaper delivered a personal favorite –“Daisies”. Distortion meets digital, the opening line sounds like some kind of old school video game. Playfulness segues into vocals and guitar riffs. Then the song breaks out into borderline punk. “Daisies” is unique in its chippy and chipper melodies. It pushes across a side of the band that the rest of the album hasn’t manage to sell. Then the closer comes, and it’s all out distortion. “Another Day” employs a fairly basic chord structure but scrambles up the sound until you’d think White Reaper cites Merzbow as an influence –except not really. Regardless, “Another Day” is loud, radical, and noisy –the ghost of Jay Reatard seems to sing in the background and it seems as if the band closes open ended. What’s next?
White Reaper picked up with where every other American rock band dropped the ball. Solos and rock anthems are back in style and at the same time reinvented with this creative group’s inspired style. Distortion, constant riffs, solos that make you smile; to say the least, they’re shaking things up. The World’s Best American Band is a nifty listen but unless you’re a hardcore fan of classic rock, this is one more easily passed up.