White Reaper, a young, raucous garage band from Louisville, Ky., is not messing around. They just dropped their third album in four years, the wonderfully named The World’s Best American Band, and I can report that it is tremendous from start to finish.
White Reaper’s energetic, riff-heavy brand of rock and roll will remind listeners of a few obvious influences. Cheap Trick and Thin Lizzy are maybe the most obvious touchstones, but there are others as well—the New York Dolls, the Runaways, KISS and early Alice Cooper, etc. This is 70s party music, in other words; think too hard about these 30 glorious minutes and risk missing the point entirely. Heck, it makes me want to move back in with my parents just so I can play The World’s Best American Band at full blast and piss them off.
White Reaper kicks The World’s Best American Band off with its fantastic title track. It’s the most Cheap Trick-esque of the bunch, even opening with fake crowd that sounds like it was lifted straight off of Cheap Trick at Budokan. At 4:46, it’s also the longest song on the album, and the band seems to take that extra time to space things out a bit more than usual. Rally up and dress to kill, singer Tony Esposito screams out. Lace your boots and crush your pills/ Run around and tell the gang/ Polish up your dusty fangs.
The very next track, “Judy French” was the album’s first official single, and it’s easy to see why: it’s catchy, it’s sleazy, and it leaves you begging for more. Oh, and that brief guitar solo that kicks in at the two-minute mark? Too perfect for words.
Another obvious highlight is “The Stack,” which opens with a few seconds of feedback before the power pop tendencies take over. If you make the girls dance, Esposito explains. The boy with dance with them/ If you play the right cards/ The stack will get bigger. Hard to argue with that logic, isn’t it?
I’m loving all of these tracks, but I do think album closer “Another Day” is my absolute favorite. It’s less than two minutes of pure chaos, with drummer Nick Wilkerson attacking his kit like it just shotgunned his last beer.
So, yeah—in case you can’t tell, I’m a big fan of this record. I highly recommend it to anyone with a soft spot for pure, unfiltered rock and roll. In a way, The World’s Best American Band reminds me of Haim’s 2013 debut, Days Are Gone. Yes, the sound is reminiscent of other bands I love, and that may be part of what drew me in initially—but once I start listening, I don’t want to stop. White Reaper can write a hell of a rock song, and they can do it with style, swagger, and confidence.
Listen below …