White Reaper Does it Again

By: Dane A. Vandervelden

I have to preface this review with a bit of preposition. Even worse: it’s the personal kind.

I am a male in my mid-twenties ’s, and have long been a lover of what most music makers, scholars, and journalists would consider to be  garage rock. Stooges, MC5, Alice Cooper’s early work, and Death (not the metal one*) are allll personal favorites.

Ugly bands that made even uglier tunes- this is the music  that I believe resonates best with the typical teenaged American male. As well, garage rock is played by Cro-Magnons for the pimply, angry youth.

I have never held onto a fondness for “garage rock” that adopts  the cutesy, pop route when it comes to its sound. The approach unceremoniously strips the music of its intrinsic bravado and pretties it up with things that most sex-starved little teeny-boppers don’t want to understand or accept.

Unfortunately, White Reaper’s White Reaper Does it Again is just the kind of album that I feel helps continue this lame tradition of making a wussy of  what rock music is at heart. What’s more rock ‘n’ roll than oodling synth and dreamy vocalization?

When you name a band after Mr. Death’s Head himself, you’d think that you’d strive to live up to the sort of grim and ghastly nature of him. Nope! This is twelve tracks of mediocre, jangly guitar work stitched to some unspectacular drumming. You also have some kid trying to bark lyrics and attempting  to sound sweet at the same time. It’s a Franken-pie of “not my thing”.

The record comes across as one that has been thrust upon us by a bunch of pretty, rich kids who have no idea what hunger is. At the album’s most energetic points (such as ib “Wolf Tap Hotel” or “BTK”), this ensemble lacks the carnivorous streak that grumbles inside so many of their predecessors. Failing to invoke the gutter-born fury that eludes this generation of musicians, White Reaper sounds like they’re trying to convince both the listener and themselves that they are having fun.

No bombast, and no balls.

White Reaper Does it Again is about as threatening and rollicking as a stationary throw pillow. There’s nothing new here to tickle my fancy (or other unmentionables) and it offers nothing  I couldn’t already get from any of Iggy Pop’s back catalog.

White Reaper Does it Again is  a half-hearted take at garage rock by a group of Kentucky kids who wish they’d been born across the pond in some dull English suburb. The upside is my girlfriend says it’s “okay [to listen] when putting makeup on”.

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