White Reaper – ‘You Deserve Love’

By Tom Walsh

As we enter the depths of winter, there is a certain beauty about an album with the vibrant feel of a summer soundtrack. When the nights begin to draw in and the sunny days feel few and far between, White Reaper are on hand to provide a collection of songs that transport you to sunlit streets, driving a top-down car across the open roads of the US.

The Kentucky five-piece’s third studio record, ‘You Deserve Love’, borrows themes from garage punk, power pop and good old fashioned rock and roll to create an infectious album full of delicate hooks and arena-ready songs. Building on the motifs developed in their past two records, it is a hugely fun record with those sing-a-long moments befitting a band destined for a much bigger stage.

As a double-header of an opener, ‘Headwind’ and ‘Real Long Time’ expertly set out White Reaper’s stall. The former is a stomping, crunching track with Tony Esposito delivering his signature crooning lyrics while the latter is a grooving, swaying number that could easily sit among the hits currently occupying the charts.

Throughout, White Reaper blend glam with a hint of camp to create effortlessly poppy tracks that will be stuck in your head for days. The organ-led ‘Saturday’ takes you to the neon-lit summer nights of one of those American cities you’ve seen in the movies. Esposito tells tales of pure Americana – of “getting out of this town” and skipping to another state with his beloved.

His lyrics tap into the sense of youthful abandon, where everything seems possible. It’s what makes ‘You Deserve Love’ the quintessential summer record, painting pictures of perfect sunsets and barbecues on the beach. The hammond organ-led ‘Might Be Right’ once again references the beauty of young love and begrudgingly coming to compromises to make a relationship work.

There is an excellent juxtaposition between the mid-album back-to-back tracks of ‘Hard Luck’ and ‘Raw’ that demonstrates White Reaper’s full potential. While ‘Raw’ is a frantic two minutes of straight up garage punk, ‘Hard Luck’ is a magnificent anthemic track that verges on ballad territory. It is another indicator of prowess of White Reaper’s ability to craft elegant songs, and shows why they are selected for support slots for the likes of The Killers and Weezer. It may be an inadvertent masterstroke that ‘You Deserve Love’ arrives in late-autumn – as it’s sure to bring summer vibes to even the gloomiest day.

TOM WALSH

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