Indeed White Reaper Does It Again

White Reaper‘s lo-fi punk had an equal mix of Best Coast, The Ramones, and the softer edges of the Sex Pistols in their debut self-titled EP. For its first full-length release, the Louisville quartet cleaned up their hazy vocals and ditched their so simple it’s genius lyrical formula. The result is an album that brims with nostalgia while sounding fresher than most rock flooding the market today.

White Reaper Does It Again begins with the above song, “Make Me Wanna Die.” The single starts the album off well–touching on concepts that appear throughout the album as well as offering some of the most compelling riffs of the album. “Make Me Wanna Die” straddles the line between punk and straight-forward summer-pop with an ease that makes the delicate task seem natural. The droning, chord-heavy guitars blister under the MGMT-esque keyboard lead. The peppy drums pop and roll, giving the song an unmistakable vibe.

From this start, White Reaper Does It Again keeps churning out heat-blasted pop-anthems. Sounding like fuzzed over 70s UK rock, White Reaper never lets their past influences dominate their sound. From the so sloppy it’s great bass line in “I Don’t Think She Cares” to the impossibly catchy melodies of “Last 4th of July,” White Reaper starts with a core solidly based in proven rock tropes before moving into more uncharted territory.

Lyrically, the album seems to center around break-up or post-break-up songs. There’s a hint of malaise under the band’s shimmering distortion. Some songs (like “Last 4th of July” or “Sheila”) have a more direct line at their feelings of discontent. Others, take a more subtle approach. These songs, to me, seem to have the most heat of any of the material on White Reaper Does It Again–one of which, “Candy,” is my favorite song of the album.

“Candy” starts fast and doesn’t quit. With vocals that jitter like the best of 70s punk. There’s an energy captured in the track that hits the surface and pulls the band and the song along for the ride. Equal parts “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “So Fine,” “Candy” acts as a perfect lynchpin to hook the first half and the second half of the album together.

Coming off the above song, White Reaper Does It Again begins to wind down. Without losing any of the album’s initial energy, the concepts start to come together and the instrumentals begin turning in a new direction. There’s a heaviness to the second half of the album that is seeming absent from the first half–yet this isn’t so much of disjunction between the two, more of a continuation and broadening of the first half.

Songs like “Friday the 13th” and “Don’t You Think I Know” have a low-end that is more present, perhaps to match their lyrical content. The album ends with the song “B.T.K.” which all but sheds the heaviness of the songs before it (returning to the sound of the beginning of the album). “B.T.K.” rattles with a fun pop vibe that hides just below the track’s heavy distortion. A perfect conclusion to an album that was seemingly made for the late summer, “B.T.K.” gives the listener the best parts of the preceding 30 minutes.

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