In 2017, White Reaper released an album proclaiming them as “The World’s Best American Band,” which was hilariously tongue in cheek coming from a band that is actually incredibly modest in interviews and offstage. But to this listener’s ears, that album title was closer to the truth than White Reaper might think.
So I’ve been surprised to not see their 2019 release You Deserve Love on many year-end lists, leading me to deepen my belief those lists are faulty to their core. (SPOILER AERT—like ever other music writer, I will still create a year-end list, and I guarantee you White Reaper is on mine.) See also: the band seems like a modest bunch, so maybe they’re just unjustifiably flying under too many radars. Well, some radars—they did just land slots for upcoming tours with both Pearl Jam and Jimmy Eat World. Let’s do our part to raise their profile before then, though.
White Reaper has come a long way since their early EPs, which stood out for me due to their energy and a knack for melody fighting its way from under the musical fuzz. Over the years they’ve gently brushed away any detritus around those hook-filled protuberances, with an archeological care to uncover as many gems of pure rock and/or roll as they could pull from the bedrock. On The World’s Best American Band they perfected their approach to create an album that was big in sound, but intimate as far as embracing every person it could corral.
And this is a band that loves its fans, and its fans love them. I remember seeing them play to a packed room at Beat Kitchen, feeling the floor bow under my feet as the entire crowd bounced along rapturously to “Little Silver Cross.” In fact I think that moment, caught up in the band’s embrace of life and a live crowd, was what really made me fall in love with the band.
On You Deserve Love, White Reaper continues to sharpen their sound, growing ever more accessible, but on their own terms. They’ve broadened their sound again to push synths further up in the mix at times, but at their heart White Reaper is a guitar good time band that just exudes such positivity you eagerly and gloriously just have to give in.
White Reaper is in town this weekend to play The Metro on Saturday, December 21. As I mentioned before, their live show is made of the stuff that sets hearts and minds on fire, so getcher tickets and don’t miss out.
And, as you cobble together your own year-end list, I bet White Reaper will find their way onto your as well.