logo Y-Not Radio Listen Live iTunes facebook twitter mobile

CD of The Week

Week of 11/04/19

    White Reaper - You Deserve Love (Elektra)

    The third album from White ReaperYou Deserve Love, featuring a label change from indie Polyvinyl to major Elektra. With streaming sites, YouTube stars and bands starting their own labels, the change begs the question, "Do major labels still matter?"

    All of White Reaper's members are right around 25 years old, so they have already had time to evolve and grow as a band without a major label's influence. Now, while Love sounds like a more complex album with a variety of moving parts and time changes, that growth has nothing to do with the label change. Bassist Sam Wilkerson told Stereogum last summer, "All of our records are super different, and I think that's on purpose because we're just always evolving." Keyboardist Ryan Hater clarified, "If you hate the new record [You Deserve Love], then you hate us. The major label didn't do anything."

    You can experience their self-inflicted growth in the midtempo and slower tracks "Hard Luck," "Eggplant," and "Saturday" the latter of which has a bridge that sounds an awful lot like Suzanna Vega's "Tom's Diner." Even their lead single "Might Be Right" is a radio-ready single that is still catchy enough to put them comfortably on tour with a like-minded band such as The Wombats. These tracks are solid and they make the album more listenable by breaking up the straight onslaught of pure energy, in-your-face high kicks that summarized their first records. That style, however, is well represented elsewhere.

    White Reaper always had the knack of ramping up songs that sound like they're from the '50s by dragging them through power-pop and glam of the '70s and dropping them in the aughts' production. "Raw" is a dizzy, swirling rocker that never stops driving forward. Single "1F" has a playful melody and bouncy keyboard that harkens back to the best OK Go singles. And the two opening tracks have the band picking the familiar party-jams recipe right back up. The second of which, "Real Long Time" is the catchiest song on the record. It feels like a nod to Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me" with its rising and falling melodic chorus.

    White Reaper is poised to be the next face in the rock n roll lineage. With the gusto, even if it is tongue in cheek, to name their previous album The World's Best American Band, then signing with the major label that puts its imprint on AC/DC, Queen, The Cars and MC5 records, they've ticked all the boxes a young band needs to survive and thrive. It's all up to them.

    **Donate $15 or more to Y-Not Radio to receive a copy of You Deserve Love. Click here for details.

    Review by Shepard Ritzen

Featured Concerts