Another questionable British summer, another scrappy garage rock record to accompany the passing months. This time, it’s the sniveling, shrieking baby of Louisville’s White Reaper; a snot-nosed foursome that tweak a familiar blueprint just enough to make White Reaper Does It Again a riotous success.
The opening three tracks have been parading across the internet for a while, channeling predictable influences such as Ty Segall, Wavves and Jay Reatard, albeit with otherworldly tinkering. Driven by fraying riffs and unexpectedly expansive synth arrangements, ‘Make Me Wanna Die’ and ‘I Don’t Think She Cares’ could easily pass for siblings, both perilously charged with venomous angst, breathless velocity and spat in the direction of a dismissive lover, even if they don’t stick around long enough to witness their bile make contact with its unlucky target. ‘Pills’ is all breezy choruses and memorable refrains, proving that, with a little more focus, White Reaper can supply an unlikely single or two.
That’s not to say, however, that a downhill trajectory is assumed from then on; where most records would sag, White Reaper Does It Again doesn’t exactly hit its stride, it’s too unruly to walk in a straight line, namely sauntering onward with a number of gleeful tumbles along the way. ‘Candy’ is one of those glorious stumbles, sickly sweet and more playful than anything else on the album, steeling you for the onslaught that amasses in the blistering form of ‘Sheila’, ‘Wolf Trap Hotel’ and ‘Don’t You Think I Know’. Thankfully, like much on show here, White Reaper struggle to rein in their pop sentiments, meaning even the most vicious offcut remains joyfully infectious. And ‘B.T.K.’ is some damn tuneful racket to end proceedings on.
Upon first listen, there’s a nagging sense that plenty here has been done before. In amongst the familiarity, however, enough hooks lurk to make another disappointing British summer a little more bearable, and White Reaper Does It Again a startling half an hour of erratic fun.