White Reaper: White Reaper — The classic punk number is a single scrap of an idea captured in about 2 minutes (3 more recently, advances in technology, y’know); the lengthier the track is, the more it runs the risk of proselytizing, of *gasp* believing in something, and hence shattering the illusion that the present moment is the pinnacle of fun and fanfare. The songs on White Reaper‘s phenomenal self-titled debut certainly fit this bill, and then some–they sound completely full, completely developed, and not just because they’re loud and fast like drunken wolverines on bicycles either. There’s a completely development of ideas, a flurry of melodies and elements that all pack enough punch to make you believe you went through a journey of twice the real-time length.
There’s a compliment I rarely deliver – “I don’t even know, man, these songs sound kinda . . . long . . .”, but imagine I’m saying it with my mouth slightly ajar and with one eyelid tensed and suspicious of what I’m hearing, rather than with a blase tiredness. White Reaper is a never-ending burlesque of street fires and chest-drumming mojo, with moments of gravitas that prevent dismissals of shallowness. The riffage is constantly profuse, the bass bouncy and insistent, and drummer Sam Wilkerson, Odin Almighty– he sounds like he could breast-stroke a liferaft to safety, with the towing rope gritted in his teeth. He hits with an intensity you wouldn’t expect from the hummingbird-schizo pace he operates at; there’s gotta be lead weights tipping those drumsticks or some such nonsense.
It’s a little bit nuts to try to pick a standout, every track seems like a how-to for succeeding in punk, six ways to success–opener ‘Cool’ is your catchy, nonsensical, Ramones-sing-along; closer ‘Ohh (Yeah)’ (love the parenthetical there) goes at a pace at once danceable, yet resembling the lurch of an electrified corpse, thanks to a thrumming bass courtesy of Sam’s identical twin Nick, and to the raw enunciation of vocalist/guitarist Anthony Esposito; and ‘Conspirator’, though it mostly pounds with a No Age sort of urgency, has these dad-rock moments of designed crowd-pleasing that avoids hamminess.
The tracks just seem to vibrate in their own little envelope long after they end, and the album as a whole begs to be repeated–it just hurtles on and on, like six tops spinning endlessly in a box. Not bad at all for a trio of under-agers…8.8/10