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. At times, there is an almost Ween-esque reverence to his good-time influences with jammy, Joe Walsh riffs cascading around clever, Nilsson-inspired pop. Yet, much of Constant Bop's charm is how it captures an overall sense of fun without resorting to novelty or irony. Petralli's skills as writer, player, and especially producer allow him to explore freely while still delivering something that is totally engaging. Even on more thoughtful tracks like "Falling at Your Feet" and "The Hardest Way," his wide-ranging influences and easy manner make for a comfortable and accessible listen. Laid-back fare like the freestyle country rocker "Sentimental Wilderness" or the dark, jazzy psych of "Have I Got It Wrong" further expand the album's sonic scope, without roaming too far outside the stable. Whether or not Bop English will outshine the continued efforts of his main vehicle, White Denim, remains to be seen, but as far as debuts go, Constant Bop is first-rate.
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AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger