In troubled times, nostalgic escapism becomes a hot commodity, and White Reaper have hit the motherlode. The band’s second record, wryly-titled The World’s Best American Band, scratches an itch so few do well, precisely emulating those times when Thin Lizzy and Ramones posters lined the walls of every garage, and a band of dirty, rebellious friends occupied each one. Fuzzy guitar riffs and cheap beer flowed freely.
But White Reaper have moved beyond the garage and into the arena, as indicated by the dissonant roar of a crowd that galvanizes the opening title track. An opening drum fill leads into a triumphant, high-energy, and undeniably catchy guitar riff, a trend that, astoundingly, persists over the record’s full ten-song track list. The production is much cleaner as well, wiping away much of the lo-fi fuzziness of their debut, White Reaper Does it Again, into something more polished, but no less authentic.
The title opener leads into “Judy French,” a poignant and nostalgic love jam. Tony Esposito’s jovial, nasally vocals sell the charmingly sincere, yet simple lyrics about a hard-to-get girl with “ripped jeans” that “makes him want to pout.” Along with impeccably crafted power chords and ethereal synth lines, this is White Reaper at their musical peak so far.
White Reaper hit this peak and keep the energy flowing for the entirety of the record’s 33-minute run time, one of many impressive feats on this record. The World’s Best American Band is a prime example of how to translate classic sounds into a newer time. Riffs are strummed with gleeful enthusiasm, and lyrics are delivered with infectious humor.
The World’s Best American Band doesn’t reinvent the wheel in any way, but there’s no need when said wheel has aged beautifully. White Reaper tap perfectly tap into that nostalgic well that makes music groups like them so appealing. Sometimes a few power chords, a cheap beer, and a good time are all you need.