So my experience with White Reaper is pretty limited to this album. I can’t say I haven’t heard any of their other songs before I listened through this album because I’m pretty sure I had heard of them before but this was the real first listen and–damn. Like, usually it takes me a little bit to fall for a band–I like to get to know them before I think about love, that’s just the girl I am–but this was a rom-com style meet-cute right here.
It’s just one of those moments when I listened to the album the second time and I was like, “yep, I have to listen to and watch everything they’ve ever released. Who needs to spend time with family and friends anyway?” So here we are, putting everything I spent too much time listening to/watching into one place so I can justify how I spend my time. It’s… not a perfect system…
This American band is made up of five members: Tony Esposito (guitar/vocals), Ryan Hater (amazing name/keyboard), Sam Wilkerson (bass), Nick Wilkerson (drums), and Hunter Thompson (guitar). This is their third full-lengthed album, but their first release with a major label–Elektra Records.
This might seem like I’m reaching a bit–and going into music-fangirl mode–but the phrasing! There’s a talent that comes with how you sing a line and that’s what Esposito is bringing to this album. It’s just the words he chooses to hit harder than others and the cries he puts at the beginning of phrases.
There’s some really amazing harmonizing guitar riffs but what really wins out for me is the bass. The bass on this album is so good–you don’t understand. I have a soft-point for bassists anyway but when you get one that goes with the drums as well as it does in this album… I just have to smile.
Maybe this isn’t one of the main instruments within the album–it might just be a synth–but the keys that come in during Hard Luck are a standout for me (and not just because they remind me of Viva La Vida by Coldplay).
This is a really fun record and I think it touches on a lot of what rock (especially garage-rock) should sound like. There’s a whimsical feel to the record that allows the listener to get lost in it.
Also, not really specific to the music of the album, but Hater always makes me smile when I watch the music videos.
No wait, I can do this!
Wait, no, stuff I didn’t like…
But all jokes aside, I think there’s one thing missing from this album that makes me fear I will forget about it in a year or even less: there’s no emotional attachment for me. For the albums that I love, there is always a moment while listening to them for the first time where a song (or more) reaches through my speakers, grabs me by the heart, and demands that I listen. I sit in shock and completely attention until the moment passes.
This album did not have that moment for me.
I think that White Reaper is an amazing band. I’ll patiently wait for them to release new stuff, go back and listen to their old stuff, and probably never skip one of their songs when it comes on. But without that moment it will never be one of my favourite bands.
I return to bands because no other song makes me feel the way that song does. It’s why I can’t listen to The Ghost of You by My Chemical Romance without crying. Why Love It If We Made It by The 1975 is everything about 2018 for me distilled into 4 minutes and 13 seconds.
Until White Reaper can do that, they’ll be a fun band I adore but never quite making into the top tier of my music collection.
Favourite Track: 1F
Honestly, it was really difficult to choose which song I liked the most because the more times I listened through the album the more I fell in love with it. Usually I know which song will be my favourite after the first listen–it all goes back to that emotional connection–but I made the mistake of listening multiple times and I was super divided but this is the one I’m settling with. (Even though Might Be Right has a better music video).
I can’t count the number of times I woke up with this song stuck in my head. I’m not complaining, just know that this could happen to you too!
Just that little scream, hard-hit phrase that leads into the guitars coming in–magical. Add in some layered backing vocals and it just grooves. It helps that there’s a nice simple chorus here that allowed for easy singing along material. You can enjoy complex lyrics if you want–I do enjoy lyrics that wax poetical–but the chorus is the time when everyone can join together and sing obnoxiously loud (and slightly off-key). If the chorus is too complex or difficult to sing you’re going to loose people. I’d love to experience this song live for that alone.
This is one of those albums that I grow more and more attached to the more times I listen to it. It makes me want to go out and listen to their other albums–to discover what I’ve been missing out on until now. It’s definitely a strong sound though and while I wish it was something that everyone could like I also understand that rock for many people is just not something they’re interested in. (I’ve had to explain why I enjoy it enough times to know this first-hand). But this is exactly the kind of sound I’m drawn to.
I hope that in their future music I’ll be able to have my moment and place them firmly within the God-tier bands of my collection.