It’s always good news when word of a new White Reaper release surfaces. When the first new single, “Judy French”—track two on the record—revealed it’s sun-drenched, southern California circa 1981 riffing, it stoked both surprise and anticipation. When you put the full album on to play, its opener/title track, ‘The World’s Best American Band’—a mammoth head-bobbing, lip sneering, coliseum sized rock anthem—seals the whole deal on the spot.
Since their last LP, 2015’s ‘White Reaper Does It Again’, the lo-fi punk-fueled garage rock they’ve been honing has evolved into a bombastic colossus that charges forward with a full-on power rock & roll attack. The band utilizes an upgraded musical arsenal that taps into a wealth of essentials that recall a classic period of power-pop rock & roll. Striking with spot-on twin guitars, runs and melodies, throwing out razor sharp hooks to hang on to, keenly placed catchy sing-along choruses, the list of the record’s virtues could go on. A lot of the songs are driven really hard by the band’s sturdy rhythm section that really make the music move, but White Reaper is still a strong guitar band. Tony Esposito’s cutting vocal deliveries have unfaltering intensity and stand out as an integral contribution to the albums success.
Every song on the LP can easily stand up on its own strength and stand out with its own distinctive presence, but the album as a whole is an effectively cohesive collection of kindred contents. Cuts like “The Stack,” “Crystal Pistol,” “Another Day” channel heavy hitting names along the lines of Thin Lizzy, The Sweet, Slade, Cheap Trick, but there’s no attempt to take the new music back into the past. And it’s not all of the usual heavy-hitters they take the reins on either. “Little Silver Cross” is a great example of White Reaper’s development as a band and the new album’s vast musical range. They’ve got no problem bringing those elements into their modern realm using a delicate creative balance with songwriting savvy.
‘The World’s Best American Band’ is bound to show up on a lot of those cute ‘Best of…’ lists at the end of the year. It hits hard in all the right places that a big badass rock & roll album should, all the way down to the album cover art. The new musical direction feels 100% natural and sounds effortless from start to stop. ‘The World’s Best American Band’ holds a potential for capturing aural attention of a wider audience, but they’re doing things on their terms. As it stands right now, ‘The World’s Best American Band’ is White Reaper’s defining moment and their best LP yet. By leveling the garage and hijacking the arena they’ve set a new standard for themselves. Buy it and listen to it LOUD.