Release Date: Apr 14, 2015
Record label: Downtown Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
The strangest thing about this album from White Denim’s James Petralli is how utterly unstrange it is. White Denim have plenty of melody buried in their genre-hopping psychedelic-boogie-prog-roots-rock, but Constant Bop sees Petralli amplifying the melodies and streamlining the arrangements, resulting in an album that keeps on hitting the pleasure points. Opener Dani’s Blues (It Was Beyond Our Control) is the kind of thing you might dream of stumbling across while flicking around 70s oldies stations on the radio, and it doesn’t let up from there.
White Denim frontman James Petralli lets his ample creativity pour out on his solo debut under the Bop English banner. A winning mishmash of '70s-indebted guitar rock, funk, folk, and psych, the ten songs on Constant Bop were assembled over the course of four years during breaks between White Denim's increasingly hectic schedule. Nimbly treading the line between tight, intricate production and a still-hairy, freewheeling aesthetic, Petralli delivers far-out rockers like "Struck Matches" and "Trying," sporting some of the best FM grooves this side of 1975.
Constant Bop feels like an album displaced in time. The kind of lost gem you’d discover digging through dusty crates in a second-hand record store. And while old maxims remain true — you shouldn’t judge anything by its cover, be they books, records or whatever — its offbeat title and artwork somehow manage to seduce you before you’ve even heard a note.
If he is known at all, Texan rhythm alchemist James Petralli – alias Bop English – is most familiar as the ringleader of a restless band called White Denim. When they first started around eight years ago, White Denim’s hipster-baiting name failed to forecast adequately that band’s deranged excellence, stretching beyond trend or fashion. In White Denim, Petralli and his cohorts combined punk velocity, jazz-level virtuosity and an indefatigable commitment to groove: constant bop, you might say.
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In the same vein as Phish and Trey Anastasio or Spoon with Britt Daniel, White Denim's sound derives so directly from the voice of its chief songwriter and frontman that band side projects and solo endeavors necessarily sound like an offshoot of the original. So it is with James Petralli's new Bop English, whose debut Constant Bop lights up a whole lot like his main band's 2011 breakout album D by the second song, "Struck Matches. " White Denim anchor Josh Block's busy beats on all 10 tracks and bandmate/rhythmic foil Steve Terebecki's up-tempo contribution to "Fake Dog" seal the deal.