Review
Imani Coppola
The Black and White Album

Ipecac (2007) Kevin Fitzpatrick

Imani Coppola – The Black and White Album cover artwork
Imani Coppola – The Black and White Album — Ipecac, 2007

The lights, the sounds, the excitement

If you've ever been to New York City, you know what I'm talking about. Regardless of the borough, walking around the city is exhilarating, bordering on overwhelming, keeping you hyper-vigilant for fear of missing something really, really cool.

Imani Coppola sounds like New York. The Black and White Album is just like the city - a countless array of styles and sensibilities whose differences compliment each other so completely that it creates a world you can't really experience unless you've seen, or in this case heard it. Can't afford a plane ticket? This album is a lot less expensive and well worth the trip.

Ms. Coppola manages to be both tough-as-shit and cute-as-hell on these fourteen tracks of rock-hop goodness. Making an album about everything and everyone that pisses you off while still sounding like a party record shows talent and skill. Or as the lady herself so succinctly puts it, Ain't nothin' more offensive than the plain truth.

Coppola has been releasing albums on her own for years, but now has finally found a home on Ipecac, the home for orphaned bands that any other label would have deemed "unmarketable." Ipecac takes these strays in, gives them a warm, nurturing environment before sending them off to seek their fortune. As such, Ipecac provides albums of a certain pure pedigree that cannot be disputed.

Perhaps you were first introduced to Ms. Coppola on the Peeping Tom tour. That's where I first discovered her. When seeing Mike Patton live with any of his legion of projects, the one common denominator is that it's hard to take your eyes off of the man. When I saw the band live, I'm not ashamed to say I was transfixed on this woman, performing stage right, for virtually the whole show. A charismatic artist to say the least, I'm astounded by watching her perform and in listening to this album that she isn't better known. She has all the range and talent as Mary J. Blige with a funny, biting wit reminiscent of Macy Gray (only, you know, more coherent).

Running the gamut from "Woke Up White," the best song The Distillers never wrote, to happy piano ditties that take a lyrical turn to the dark side - "Raindrops from the Sun" - to full-on beat heavy cruisers like "Keys 2 Your Ass" which, in its execution manages to be ten times better than the type of song it parodies. It might be the middle of Winter, but this album most certainly provides the feel-good hits of the Summer.

Imani Coppola – The Black and White Album cover artwork
Imani Coppola – The Black and White Album — Ipecac, 2007

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