Music Reviews
You Deserve Love

White Reaper You Deserve Love

(Elektra) Buy it from Insound Rating - 7/10

With garage rock, it’s always easy to want a little more. It’s a genre where consistency and quality can only get you so far. This fully applies to White Reaper, a dependably good garage-punk group that just barely reached great with their second full-length album, The World’s Best American Band. Eventually, you start to wonder how much higher than great the group can get with this kind of meat and potatoes rock n’ roll, but if you’ve heard Might Be Right, the superb lead single off their latest You Deserve Love, you’d know that’d be wrong. The Louisville, Kentucky four-piece gives us more of the same with just enough of a nice expansion into early 1980s new wave to keep things lively. If The World’s Best American Band was White Reaper’s Cheap Trick album, You Deserve Love veers more towards The Cars.

On that 2017 album, White Reaper one-upped themselves by bringing in bigger and better hooks. With this new one, they push their genre forward by bringing in different instrumentation and giving different songs a bit less of that incessantly ferocious energy. Might Be Right, is a perfect example, which has driving bass and a light synth part that leads the track until the chorus hits—surprisingly, the easy highlight of that track is the Elliot Easton-esque guitar lick directly after the chorus. A similar thing happens with the bleeding guitars and buzzy synths on the bridge of Ring, which perfectly sets up the way the solo comes crashing in. The light touches of keys end up defining parts of this album: 1F is a solid enough song that almost gets taken over by the organ that propels it, while the piano right before the solo on Hard Luck provides a melancholic touch. The momentum slows most noticeably on the mid-tempo jam Eggplant, which leans into its funky guitar riff and light touches of Wurlitzer—bringing a new dimension to Reaper’s sound. Similar things happen with the ethereal synths and marching drum beat during the verses of Saturday.

The sheer joy behind each song here is what keeps You Deserve Love from the occasion sameness that you could find on The World’s Best American Band. With its thumping bass part, the sentimental title track makes dumb and fun cliches like “time’s got surprises" sound new. What we love about White Reaper isn’t gone, even with the new touches. You’ve still got a jaunty, pre-chorus groove like “Headwind,” or the souped-up explosion of “Raw,” along with the dueling guitars of the aforementioned title track. Not much has changed since they signed with a major label, but it’s time for them to take on the world. Hopefully, they follow through on the promise of being the world’s best American band.