Bop English - Constant Bop - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Bop English - Constant Bop

by Nathan Fidler Rating:9 Release Date:2015-04-13

Bop English are totally new, except they’re also not. James Petralli, for whom this is essentially a new solo album, is also the frontman for White Denim, who have been wowing us for quite some time now with their infectious psychedelic garage-rock. So what’s different here? Well not much, happily.

Constant Bop sums up Petralli’s attitude towards music: not satisfied with the frantic work rate of his day-job, he squirreled away tracks for himself between tours and album releases. Another reason you might mistake this for a White Denim release is because the other band members pop up to help on different tracks – showing that they aren’t begrudging of this project.

Ok, so this isn’t 100 per cent a White Denim album, despite the easy comparisons; there is more of a pop vibe thrown in. ‘Dani’s Blues (It Was Beyond Our Control)’ and ‘Sentimental Wilderness’ evoke an ELO approach to music, with the power of rock and the hooks of good-time pop. Meanwhile, 'Have I Got It Wrong' might make you think you've skipped to listening to Broken Bells, but while this synth-driven track is laced with the same DNA, Bop English is a far more blissful listen.

This is no rushed project either, Pertalli has been honing this stuff for four years, and it shows. Chirping guitars and shimmering choruses mark ‘Fake Dog’, which bounds along into a splendid scorch of guitars at the end, showing how much fun he's having and how much effort has gone into this work.

One thing which you’ll come to realise is that Petralli is definitely in control of the melodies and lyrics for his regular band, showing off his prowess here for kicks on ‘Struck Matches’ with lines like: “You press holes in your in your gloom and breath in all the fumes/ getting deeply in tune awaiting the next wave of attack”.

His boundless enthusiasm and differing approaches to songs are so entertaining that you want to eat the album whole and blast it out – just in time for impressing people at the first sunshine-soaked barbeque of the year. ‘Trying’ has just the right amount of pop, funk and rock mixed in via guitars, synth, and a burping brass section for just such an occasion.

For anyone who has enjoyed White Denim, this is a must. It might seem slightly flabbier without the tightness and ruthlessness of the entire band, but this is a real gem nonetheless. Here’s to hoping that Bop English can fill the small gaps between future band endeavours. Chuck your winter coat in the bin and put on your shorts and shades.

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