White Reaper don't want your bullshit.Polyvinyl, 2017
7.4 / 10
If there’s something missing in modern rock, it’s a sense of entitlement. Which makes sense, considering that a youth with a guitar definitely doesn’t have the same world-conquering potential as they would have 20 years ago. But here’s White Reaper with their sophomore album, sporting the entitled title of The World’s Best American Band. While they fall a bit short of that moniker, it’s certainly not for lack of trying. Coming off of White Reaper Does It Again, the group has clearly matured. The new album sounds like Springsteen if he had been born 10 years later.
The title track kicks things off in theatrical fashion. It sounds enough like a mix between the band’s old and new sound to bring in fans while keeping the originals. Single, “Judy French” is the best song by a long-shot, as if you couldn’t tell by that dynamite title. The romance and adrenaline of old-school rock n’ roll all over it. It features the kind of chord progression and melody that could have fallen from the sky. Singer Tony Esposito is the perfect vessel for the track, tempering the sweetness with pure fucking attitude. Bassist Sam Wilkerson channels McCartney on “Eagle Beach”, keeping things solid between the fiery guitar solos, but it’s those guitars that really steal the show on the album. Scuzzy, thick, and fast, there’s nary a crevice without a hook.
“Little Silver Cross” is maybe the biggest outlier of the bunch. If War On Drugs song had arena-conquering aspirations, this is what it would sound like. “Party Next Door” combines a Thin Lizzy-verse and an excitable Tom Petty-chorus, and would have fucking killed at a party. However, the whole record would really kill at a party. The album fits into any hook-heavy punk collection, right next to Royal Headache and Sheer Mag. Perhaps, White Reaper’s entitlement is fair. If rock burns out, America melts, and all of our phones die, I’m pretty sure we’ll still need a little arrogance, if only to make us turn our heads and pay attention.