Sweet Reaper


Sweet Reaper Street Sweeper LP

Forty-five seconds in and I’m fucking digging this thing. It’s mid-tempo and melodic and just catchy as all hell. The guitar, bass, and drums are in perfect harmony. Even if I felt like stopping my head from bouncing, it just wouldn’t be possible. I give into my urges and I bounce my head. It reminds me of bands like the POPPETS and the WHITE STRIPES, without sounding much like either of them. Even when it gets heavy and methodical, it remains upbeat. It’s pop. It’s punk. It’s not pop punk. And not all songs make your head bounce, some make it shake from side to side, like you’re some kind of a tough guy or  smartypants. This will get a lot of play on my devices.

Sweet Reaper Microdose EP

Lovely little four-song slab from Ventura, California’s SWEET REAPER. Energetic, vocal-driven power pop with such a clean guitar tone that you’d think they were playing from an original 1950s Telecaster. Vocals are very melodic, and bring to mind MARKED MEN, RADIOACTIVITY, and a slew of other Dirtnap bands. Helps warm the bones on these chilly winter nights. Great stuff.

Sweet Reaper Sidekick LP

I’ve always loved art that seems to peel back the mask of an otherwise serene and happy environment. Ventura’s SWEET REAPER exists in the tradition of beach punk like AGENT ORANGE, ADOLESCENTS, RIKK AGNEW, etc. On the surface, Ventura could seem like a shiny, happy surfer’s paradise, but this album simmers with the sun-bleached angst beneath the boardwalk. Musically, we’re coming out of the gate strong: lead-off track “Reapers Back” is the best song the MARKED MEN never wrote. The MARKED MEN comparison is a bit of a red herring though, as the rest of the album bears less of a resemblance to Denton’s finest. Still catchy as hell, but with a cynical detachment to the vocals and an abrasive jangle to the guitars that at times harkens back to the ADVERTS. Ten short songs packed with melody, hooks, and energy. No chaff.

Sweet Reaper Closer Still LP

OK, this band got me trying to remember a Swedish pop band I used to listen to, it took me like a damn hour to think of… CAESAR’S PALACE, specifically the album Cherry Kicks. Ventura, CA’s SWEET REAPER presents way more punk in both production and songwriting, but it’s got a similar vocal delivery. A more relatable touchstone could be MARKED MEN, or I even dare to stretch it to HEX DISPENSERS. Don’t get too settled with my predictable Tex-ass comparisons though, because there’s a heap of California beach punk here, as per their proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Each pop vocal hook is sharpened deadly and cast through the cheek of any dumb punk willing to nibble. The drummer does that kick-drum-on-all-four-beats thing, topped with sixteenth-note hi-hats, it’s the ultimate thing to tip a band into danceable territory. A nice surprise! Who else hates the label name “Alien Snatch”?