|White Reaper (credit: Jesse De Florio)|
Early reviews of White Reaper's newest effort claim a new direction for the band, abandoning their mod-punk sound for a more "power-pop" sound (both Consequence of Sound and Stereogum used the term in their reviews). While the band has expanded their sound from 2 minute garage punk gems drenched in distortion and keyboard hooks to 4 minute rompers with the inclusion of guitar solos, the core sound remains.
The first single, Judy French, was released on January 26th on Polyvinyl, holds the classic Reaper sound, and is a high school crush-themed track that plays like a sister to Sheila, if she was enrolled at the school from Beverly Hills 90210.
Tracks like Little Silver Cross and The Stack find that sweet spot between early 70s punk rock and late 70s power pop such as Cheap Trick's perfectly weighted In Color LP placed in between 1977's punk influenced self titled album and 1978's power-ballad drenched Heaven Tonight LP.
The entire album is a soundtrack for the tragic teen experience that at once views the world as endless with possibilities and also painfully restrictive. Filled with cute girls with the best kind of secrets and days wasted on TV and daydreams of fame, The World's Best American band may be best suited for fans already acquainted with the band rather than a break-out move for world domination, but is a solid effort for a band deserving of their self imposed title, but has long struggled for acceptance in a world currently lacking an appreciation for straight up Rock N' Roll. Supporting Alvvays during a 2015 world tour, White Reaper was asked to leave the tour, sighting their wild and loud stage shows not being a good fit with the subdued reverb drenched electrona-pop headliner.
On the other hand, The World's Best American Band just might have enough of that sorely missed classic rock n' roll braggadocio to grab the world's attention and remind us all why we fell in love with rock n' roll in the first place. As frontman Tony Esposito claimed in a press release, “Just like Muhammad Ali was the greatest, you gotta say it out loud for people to believe it.”
Louisville's White Reaper will celebrate the release of their new album The World's Best American Band (out 4/7 on Polyvinyl Records) on April 8th at Zanzabar.