Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Little Jackie - The Stoop (Parlophone)

Every now and then, an album comes along that commands your attention from the first bar. One such album was Chupacabra, the 1998 introduction to New York newcomer Imani Coppola – sadly, too few people heard that first bar to reel them in, thus creating a lost masterpiece.

A decade on, and Imani Coppola has teamed up with DJ/producer Adam Pallin to form Little Jackie, a collective that have already bestowed us with the greatest song of the year in the shape of The World Should Revolve Around Me. Setting the standard so astronomically high with the first single means semi-debut album The Stoop has quite a challenge on its hands…

Rather than acting as some sort of Chupacabra Redux, it seems Pallin has Coppola firmly tethered to 2008, and more importantly, reality. Where Coppola’s debut was a fantastical mash-up of John Lennon meets Phoebe Buffay, The Stoop is a much more pragmatic affair, grounded in the hardships and simple pleasures of everyday life. And yet, when such potentially muted subject matter is swathed in the inventive, refined, zesty magic of Little Jackie, it takes on a whole new outlook.

Guys Like When Girls Kiss manages with class, humour and relevance what the grotesque Katy Perry tried to convey with trashiness and failed titillation. Elsewhere, the stupendous Crying For The Queen calls out the terminal joke that is Amy Winehouse for her unprofessionalism and general idiocy. Well, it was about time someone did it – Little Jackie just happen to do it using killer hooks and scathing (yet entirely justified) lyrics.

The brand of quirky, fresh indie-soul on display throughout The Stoop is literally impossible to pigeonhole. Much like Gnarls Barkley, the Little Jackie sound hits you without warning, yet simultaneously from a hundred directions at once. That’s not to say there’s any parallels with Gnarls Barkley sonically – it’s hard to imagine anyone outside of this collective creating music quite so unique.

In fact, the lone gripe that can be nit-picked from The Stoop is that it’s over way too early – however, whether this is an actual duration issue or merely a ‘time-flies-when…’ cliché remains to be seen. The Stoop proves that Imani Coppola is as capable of astute social commentary with a sly wink as she is of hip-hop lunar lullabies, and that Adam Pallin has the tools to make that talent operate tremendously. Together, they’ve produced an album which, if there’s any justice, will reach a significantly higher number of ears than Chupacabra - and however many ears it does reach, you can guarantee will be entirely captivated.

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