It’s been a while since a decent blend of post-punk and garage rock appeared on the scene. Thankfully though, July 17th will see Kentucky-based punk outfit White Reaper release their infectious debut album, White Reaper Does It Again, via Polyvinyl Records. Having recieved some acclaim (from both NME and The Guardian) for their self-titled EP last year, you almost can feel the anticipation in the air as the release date closes in. Needless to say, White Reaper do not disappoint.
Opening track and lead single, Make Me Wanna Die, takes the form of a psychedelic track with bubblegum-punk vocals, similar to that of the infamous Joey Ramone. It’s a great start, kicking off the album with a Pistols-esque vibe and some riveting basslines, followed shortly by second single I Don’t Think She Cares. This doesn’t stray much from the first track, but has a much more commericalised presence on the album, playing the middle-man between classic punk rock and that Arctic Monkeys signature sound we’ve all come to either love or hate.
Pills and On Your Mind, on the other hand, has a remarkably distinct 21st century indie rock feel to it, with vocal work that could easily be matched with that of The Killers’ Brandon Flowers. But if that’s a turn off, I wouldn’t worry too much – Last 4th of July stays true to those infectious riffs, blasting us back into the late 70s, while Alone Tonight is more like a Ramones track than anything else on the record.
Unfortunately, almost every record had that one track you should probably avoid. In White Reaper’s case, this is Candy, with its melodies sitting closely next to various rock-does-Christmas songs – perhaps a little too cheesy for this record? However, Sheila soon makes up for this though, with vocalist Tony resembling something close to Johnny Rotten. Either way, we’re not complaining, and it’s bloody good to hear a voice like this again.
Next up, and probably the best track on this record (and perhaps one of the best track I’ve heard so far this year), is the fantastic Friday the 13th. I mentioned that ‘Brandon Flowers meets punk rock’ vibe earlier, but this track takes it to a whole new level. Friday the 13th takes verything you could possibly expect from a massive Killers track, and smashes it together with some gritty vocals, anthemic riffs and messy drums. Impressive work.
Wolf Trap Hotel takes us back to the Pistols-esque atmosphere or classic, 70s punk rock, while Don’t You Think I Know sees the White Stripes meet The Undertones with chanty vocals and catchy indie riffs. The record closes with BTK, the track that occupies the middle ground between the Ramones’ grungy bubblegum punk and today’s heartfelt pop punk. Good and bad point combined, White Reaper Does It Again is exactly what the punk scene needs right now.
Listen to Make Me Wanna Die here: