Reviewed by Chase Hoffberger, Fri., June 19, 2015
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. Elsewhere, a slew of Austin's finest fill out Petralli's framework: Adrian Quesada (guitar), Shearwater's Kevin Schneider (bass), Big Orange owner Matt Oliver (damn near everything), pedal steel guitarists Bob Hoffnar and JT Holt. Most expansive are the horn contributions to "Trying" and "Willy Spends an Evening" from saxist Dan Bechdolt and trumpeter Shane Pitsch. While there's no vocal display so audacious as "Cheer Up" from White Denim's Corsicana Lemonade, Petralli's singing on "Long Distance Runner" reinforces the unspoken truth of his being one of Austin's finest, most soulful voices.