Album Review: White Reaper – White Reaper Does It Again

white reaper

White Reaper Does It Again is the debut album from White Reaper. It will be released on July 17. The Louisville band will be performing at Forecastle Festival Sunday, July 19 and at an official Forecastle after-party Saturday, July 18.

White Reaper Does It Again is a funny name because a double meaning could suggest what many may call a flaw in the album: it sounds like a lot of other things. If you aren’t really listening, sure, you might think this album is reminiscent of some other albums. But if you give your full attention, it’s clear that the focus in that title truly is White Reaper.

To me, the band is unique because they sound like a successful off-shoot of so many other styles. They’re like The Ramones only took half their Adderall dosage and sold the rest to friends in the library. Just fast and unruly enough to create a frenzy, yet focused. The songs are longer than classic punk adrenaline shots. White Reaper uses versatility to their advantage opposed to pure speed. Although they’re never truly slow – other times it sounds like they’re riding around with Mia Wallace at night and heading for an overdose.

Point is – things can get wild here. And no matter the pace, the album is always infectious.

After my first listen, the biggest takeaway is that there are no boring songs. Every song is catchy and memorable. The songs are longer than The Ramones, uglier than early Arctic Monkeys material and more unpredictable than any garage rock from The Strokes. Each track presents a unique quality that sets itself apart from the others on the album. As a result, an album that could be plagued by monotony moves along swiftly with fresh ideas throughout.

“Candy” is a great example of a song with a twist that makes all the difference. Here is a light garage rock sing-a-long at its core. But it doesn’t feel like any old song up that alley. This one sounds more like a White Reaper Christmas single, cheery in some kind of loose, drunken way. If this is the White Reaper Christmas single, then I’m pre-ordering the ugly sweater now.

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In a different phase of the album, it’s no surprise that “Pills” offers the half-drugged Ramonian sound I mentioned earlier. This is one of the White Reaper songs that unleashes some keyboard leads that stand opposed to the typical garage sound, resulting in an interesting contrast. This song is slowed down for those types of subtleties, but don’t forget – only half of that dose was taken before selling off the rest. The muted guitars chip away behind the vocals creating this sense of anticipation. All of the verses remind me of a kid impatiently waiting for something, then later being given candy by the time the chorus shows up. “Pills” is one of my favorites because there are plenty of variables and no ball is dropped in the juggling.

All of these variables come up song after song. You could say White Reaper Does It Again is like a roller coaster, but I think that may sell it a little short. The album is really more like an amusement park you can explore all day long. There are bumpy rides with high stakes, rest areas to slow down cool off and novelty shops with nifty trinkets you may not care for individually, but can’t resist once they’re all packaged together in one room.

Simply put, the album is just as fun to listen to as an amusement park. There is a surprising amount of variety and none of the gambles turn out as losses. White Reaper is a really exciting young band, and I can’t wait until the next time they “do it again.”

Stream White Reaper Does It Again from NPR here.

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