09 March 2007

Albert Hammond Jr. / Yours to Keep / Rough Trade [2007]

3 stars

Albert Hammond Jr., the bouncy-haired Stroke with the three-piece suits and smooth rhythm-guitar lines, crafts his first solo venture, a respectable combination of New York confidence in the form of distorted guitar hooks and SoCal cool.

Not straying from the familiar sound so closely associated with The Strokes, "In Transit" begins like something from "Is This It," intertwining guitar and metronome-like drums that build to a catchy chorus. "Yours to Keep" is at its best when Hammond strays from this nu-NYC sound of 4/4 garage-stomp, incorporating vocal influences from the classics, channeling John Lennon/Oasis and their knack for '60s brit-pop on "Blue Skies." "Bright Young Thing" has a simple melody reminiscent of Lou Reed on a happy day and Guided By Voices and Buddy Holly covers ("Postal Blowfish" and "Well... All Right," respectively) provide influential reference points.

An unassuming character, Hammond never raises his voice or the music's volume. Instead of being dominated by a parade of famous friends (guest appearances include Sean Lennon, Ben Kweller and Julian Casablancas), Hammond retains autonomy with smooth vocals and signature guitar riffs รก la The Strokes. Hammond scratches the solo-album itch, neither forging ahead nor offending listeners with the typical indulgence and solo experimentation they tend to propagate.

- Joseph Coscarelli

Read it on WSN

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