Having been a part of such seminal Canadian indie bands as Eric's Trip and Elevator, Rick White is an established veteran, and his 2007 release, Memoreaper only serves to further his already admirable reputation.
Now going by the moniker Rick White Album, the former Eric's Trip/Elevator frontman's latest, 137, is another collection of psych-folk-rock that will astound in so many ways. Since Elevator disbanded, White's acoustic-guitar playing has become more technically virtuosic, with songs like "Eerieacquaintance" and "Back Home" being perfect examples of how he can play complex fingering so deftly. White's previous two releases, Album and Mamoreaper, focused more on acoustic showcasing than 137, which tends to dip back into flat-out psychedelic sound-structures (like the latter day Elevator-ish "Perception"), built around base-string riffs and synthesizer motifs. But as a next step in the constant evolution of his artistry, 137 is a masterwork---almost the perfect synthesis of Rick's growing mastery of the acoustic guitar and his singularly distinctive heavy, psychedelic side.
Commandeering every instrument, Rick White surpasses the calm of his last record with an abrasive blast of thoughtful psych rock. White’s past work in Eric’s Trip and Elevator featured surprisingly dynamic, multi-layered noise guitar orchestras. With recent projects like the Unintended and his own solo work, White’s explored a somewhat gentler side, infusing acoustic balladry with his signature earthy haze. Hints of this sensibility pop up here and there but, by and large, Memoreaper is a scrappy punk record. "Sorry We Missed You” segues between White’s soft/hard sensibilities, beginning slyly on an acoustic figure before careening forward with emotional release. "Flicker” is one of many songs where White’s frenetic drumming and electric guitar textures crash against his spooky, effects-laden vocals. Classical guitar solos on "Grim Unintention” perfectly complement the song’s mood, while "I Don’t Know Her” is a cool old school hardcore punk song except for the uncharacteristically gentle lead vocal. Capturing all of his sensitivity, prowess, and experimental impulses, Memoreaper is a remarkable record from Rick White.