White Reaper - The World’s Best American Band (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

White Reaper

The World’s Best American Band (2017)


To title your sophomore album The World’s Best American Band, you must commit to believing it. Louisville, Kentucky's White Reaper are no strangers to humor but they thrive in unadulterated rock and roll. While their debut White Reaper Does It Again was a garage-focused effort, now they’ve polished their sound and believe they should be playing arenas nightly.

For proof, look no further than the opening title track. Starting with canned applause, the audience eagerly awaits their favorite band. While the heyday when rock dominated the radio is gone, White Reaper exist in a world where that’s not the case. Their sound is poppy rock without any negative connotation. They embrace the sound of guitars and bass and even throw in keys for good measure. On top of that guitarist/singer Tony Esposito’s hooks could soundtrack any summer time beach bash since 1970. But, there is something special about the record coming out in 2017. In the past, it may have gotten lost in all the Thin Lizzy impersonators. Now The World’s Best American Band feels special. They laud the sentiments of Beach Slang and Japandroids' celebration of youth. On “Little Silver Cross,” the world’s best American song on The World’s Best American Band, Esposito yells, “In a pretty midnight Ford blowing heat, holding two, with a beating heart in the backseat, now breakin' loose.” He captures driving a convertible with the top down at full speed. On “The Stack” he sings “If you make the girls dance, the boys will dance with them,” over jumpy keys for the blue jeaned, leather clad community.

The guitars lead the charge as The World’s Best American Band blasts through all ten songs, the bass always dancing with, turned up plenty high in the mix. “Tell Me” finds the guitars and bass in a call and response where they both shine. Here, there’s never a reason not to add extra flair, and the album is better for it.

In a recent Noisey interview, Esposito claimed, "We weren't the best back when we released White Reaper Does It Again but we're the best now." While time will tell if that’s true, White Reaper have made a giant rock and roll record that will satisfy fans of guitar-driven music. Next time, we’ll see if they can hold the title.