It was the name originally that brought Sweet Reaper into the limelight, but the music that made a fair stance with their 2017 release, Street Sweeper. With its wave-heavy punk music, the surfing guitars that coast between the ins-and-outs of California, and the focus on creating memorable, but often quick leaps into the ocean of sound.
Sweet Reaper is a conglomerate effort of Seth Pettersen on vocals and guitar, Danny Gomez on the bass guitar and vocals, bringing Sasha Green up behind as the percussionist. Moving the band from track to track feels as a coast, with little makings of a frame behind the loose, buzzed rock set. The style stays consistent and never takes any large veer to anything in the distance with Street Sweeper. But consistency in a sense, is a positive note as Sweet Reaper feels approachable throughout Street Sweeperwithout becoming too experimental or abstract in the work.
Opening with the energetic “Rock Alone”, the band forms an abrasive, but never aggressive style that reflects within the chorus and bars coming from Pettersen. There are these moments of invitation that Sweet Reaper takes as the band moves throughout the record to form a consistent grasp of friendliness. This can create a feel-good sense behind the band on Sweet Reaperwhile slightly limiting the band to never pull any punches or hold any true surprises behind their sound.
Even with the later tracks, there is this flow of similar sound throughout the record that feels as though it suddenly needs that edge and cutting style to create a break in the consistent action of Street Sweeper. “No Kontrol” is similar to “Late Night”, which is almost similar to “Don’t Care”. It is an unfortunate deterrent on the record that could have been instead shortened down to create more of an “EP” style with more weight behind it. On the Thirty-Seven-Minute journey, there is not much that inspires or feels any different than the first ten-minutes.
That is not to say that the music is bad or in any way not energetic, it just does not feel engaged with any sort of variety. Making the band feel unfortunately bland on one of the more promising record labels of today. Burger Records has a stance on some of the heavy-hitters of independent styled music. With Sweet Reaper however, there is a lacking element to the music and it leaves something to be desired at the dinner table.
Predictable, but not horrid, Street Sweeper has these shining moments where the band consistently works well together and creates some uplifting moments. A perfect example is “Holidaze” where the melancholy emotional output from Pettersen is enjoyable as he explains, “Laying in my bed, a bullet in my head… stay away, away, away from me.” It is that perfect mix despair and upbeat attitude on the musical aspect that glimmers through on Street Sweeper.
There is just ultimately not enough of these moments to create a standout release and it gets pushed beneath the waves of the crashing musical sea. The band is tight, has lots of potential, but feels bland by the fourth or fifth track as all the cards are eventually laid out on the table.