White Reaper – The World’s Best American Band (Polyvinyl, 2017)

White Reaper are pretty much doing their best to put the fun back into rock n’roll. In fact, it’s their reason d’être, if you will. They are unashamedly doing this shit because it’s fun. As a guy that spends a disproportionate amount of his life in a slime-pit of misery, it’s good to be reminded of this every now and again. Typically, I’m of the opinion that good-time music is essentially worthless: I want tales of heartbreak, alcoholism and impotent rage… In the words of one Stephen Morrissey, “it (happy music) says nothing to me about my life”.

So what exactly is it that would lead me to make such an out of character statement, then? I’ll try and explain it to young ladies and gentlemen. It’s the unashamed swagger that these lads seem to have. There’s none of that attempting to be tongue-in-cheek “ooh look at us we’re so ironic” nonsense that The Darkness and Steel Panther were all about. This ain’t a send-up of ‘70s rock. This is more of a no-nonsense revitalisation of it. Kind of like a Thin Lizzy for modern times.

An obvious comparison to make here would be Gentleman’s Pistols, who many seem to hail as today’s Led Zeppelin. Gentleman’s Pistols, to their credit have achieved a wider appeal than just to Atko’s mates. White Reaper have less of a galloping rhythm to them – clearly more pub rock than arena rock, I suppose. There’s definitely a common appeal though. I’m also put in mind of River City High’s Won’t Turn Down album for some reason, although those guys were producing some kind of amalgam of cock rock, traditional emo and indie rock ala Weezer and Dinosaur Jr (both of whom I’d place a good bet on having had some kind of influence on this stuff).

I can’t deny that there is a heavy portion of extra mature cheddar being offered up here. Often though, as is the case here, there is a place for cheesiness. There is a caveat to this that determines whether said cheesiness is good or not. There’s an art to honing your cheese that comes from being knowingly cheesy. A great deal of po-faced youth crew hardcore also falls firmly into this cheese bracket. See also: death metal; see this genre; see that genre. The list goes on. It’s often where the dividing line between being awesomely derivative and being a low quality carbon copy falls. The difference between knowingly doing something in a form of fan-worship or just being plainly unimaginative. There’s some kind of profound statement buried in the depths of this paragraph. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.

In conclusion, I can see a pretty broad range of people getting a real kick out of this. It’s inhibition free, strutting, cock-sure balls-out rock n’roll. What’s not to like? Sweet guitar licks, bass doesn’t overly follow the guitars or vice versa, boss drum fills and thematically appropriate vocals. Go check it, thank me later.

This record drops on the 7th April. You can pre-order this slab of awesome on red vinyl from Polyvinyl

You can check out more of White Reaper’s stuff on their bandcamp page, and I assume that they’ll be putting The World’s Best American Band up to stream once it’s been released. In the meantime, you can also check out the video in this article.

Tony of Nurgle is a true child of the North, currently living in exile in Croydon, South East London. He used to co-run a specialist record store in Manchester (Roadkill Records), and also spent a couple of years as a promoter, and put on shows for the likes of Leatherface, the Loved Ones, Lucero, Minus The Bear, These Arms Are Snakes, Spy vs Spy, Latterman etc. He also spent several years DJing at shady rock clubs in Manchester, and started the infamous Thursday night "punk room" at Jilly's Rockworld. Also responsible for Middle Finger Response, and collaborated with a couple of friends on a monthly night called Refuse to Lose, which will still occasionally reunite the original DJ line-up - hopefully in the not too distant future. Apart from that, it's all bitterness and a jaundiced view of human nature, rarely skateboarding, often reading books with maps in the front.

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