Just under two years after White Reaper’s debut LP ‘White Reaper Does It Again’ saw its release, the band is back with their brand new LP ‘The World’s Best American Band.’ The Louisville, KY natives (composed of Tony Esposito, Ryan Hater, Nick Wilkerson, and Sam Wilkerson) possess the ability to sonically distinguish their work through their natural knack for musical innovation.
Something about their body of work feel inherently relatable to listeners, and this is because in each and every song in their body of work, the music tells the story just as effectively as the lyrics. They are equalized agents of communication, coming together as a single sonic unit to bring an enriching auditory experience to fruition. The result? Pure absorption. Listeners cannot help but feel entirely engulfed in the world or message of the song; as they are receiving it from a musical and lyrical standpoint, the potency of the work and thus the emotional response it generates can only be increased within. Any artist can generate enjoyable music, but it takes a truly talented artist to generate music that is enjoyable but makes people feel. White Reaper does just that, and it is one of the many facets that make them rock and roll strongholds.
This skill is detectable before a single note is even played or sung on the opening, self-titled track of ‘The World’s Best American Band’, as it begins with audio of a cheering crowd. This sets the track’s invigorating nature from right off the bat; the energy from the cheers and chants is so palpable to the point that listeners are already fully engaged by the time the music and lyrics come in. This successfully encapsulates the sense of raw electricity that is reminiscent of a live performance, and this prevails throughout the song’s entire duration. A notable aspect of ‘The World’s Best American Band’ is that each and every musician exudes sonic power. Drummer Nick Wilkerson is the first musician to begin to play, and does to with a sense of rhythmic gusto that feeds into the song’s infectious energy. Bassist Sam Wilkerson stands out and holds his own on the song’s verses, playing a line that is so rhythmic and catchy to the point where it becomes indelible in the minds of all who have the pleasure of hearing it. Vocalist/guitarist Tony Esposito fills the song with vitality with grand power chords and an impassioned vocal performance. The song is an audible shot of adrenaline, and is brimming with electricity in only a way “the world’s best American band” could.
Ryan Hater (“MVP”) rounds out White Reaper’s unique sound on keyboards. It can sometimes be difficult to integrate keyboards into a more traditionalized rock sound simply because the contrast between the individual sounds can be too stark. However, White Reaper is able to create a successful auditory nexus between the two musical entities to generate a sound that is inventive and individualistic. Hater’s masterful work adds a layer of style and flair to White Reaper’s sound, making them sonically distinguishable from other artists who are working to achieve a similar sound. He stands out not only through his blatant talent as a musician, but also through his ability to experiment with a variety of sounds and styles that both compliment and enhance the band’s sound.
One track on the record through which his talents most prominently stand out is “Little Silver Cross.” The song opens with ethereal keyboard work that sets its transfixing and tenacious nature. The song then gradually undertakes a slow sonic build, layering instrument after instrument, until it it explodes at the chorus with an incredible sense of electricity. The ease at which White Reaper transitions through dynamic changes, as they do in “Little Silver Cross,” speaks volumes about their technical abilities as artists.
The world got its first taste of all White Reaper had to offer with ‘The World’s Greatest American Band’ after the album’s seconds track, “Judy French,” was released in January. Dripping with charm, “Judy French” is the ultimate auditory hybrid between goodness and grit. The jaunty opening riff captures the ears of listeners in the same way a good book can capture the mind. It’s irresistibly charming, and is something of the audible manifestation of the sensation of having butterflies in the stomach; it encapsulates anticipation and fascination in a delectable three minute and twenty-six second package. It was the perfect track to give listeners a taste of the innovative full album that was to come.
For White Reaper, the most exciting element of the release of ‘The World’s Best American Band’ is knowing that others are enjoying their work. In January, the band gave the following statement to Amplify via Facebook message: “We just couldn’t be happier to have people hearing our music right now. That’s easily the aspect of this next record we are most proud of.”
And they certainly delivered material worth waiting for.
Click here to listen to “The World’s Best American Band” on White Reaper’s bandcamp page