ALBERT HAMMOND JR. Yours To KeepThe three-piece suit wearing rhythm guitarist of the sort of house hold name The Strokes and son of successful pop/rock song writer tries the solo gig. When I heard first heard his single “101” I was a bit skeptical. After hearing the song I had written it is off as another patron to the retro rock revivalism that The Strokes had brought with them with their first album Is This It.

So when I finally decided to give Yours To Keep a full listen, I was quite surprised. I heard these little chimes in the opening “Cartoon Music For Super Heroes” and these sweet sweet vocal harmonies so reminiscent of The Beach Boys! Soft and whimsical. Something that apparently was unStroke-like. What a definite surprise that was. Then it picked up with “In Transit” right afterwards. Something similar that could’ve been heard in The Strokes’ past intentions but there’s an expansion in instrumentation that just makes it a lot more fun. The whistling of the keys in the background as basic as they sound can make all of the difference. Not only to mention the soaring chorus also makes it just as refreshing as your hair being blown through while you’re on a roller coaster with that big smile on your face next to your date! How fun is that? Oh, then there’s another surprise in “Everyone Gets A Star.” Once again nothing really surpassing in what The Strokes has done, but this whole back to basics concept definitely puts a kink in trying to compare Albert Hammond Jr.’s writing to The Strokes’. Songs just seem to just flow easier and mellower and are just plain ‘ole poppier.

Then I heard “Call An Ambulance.” I couldn’t believe how much I adored this song. With charming vocals and playful lyrics I wouldn’t even be able to put Albert Hammond Jr.’s writing next to Julian Casablancas’. The creativity that Albert Hammond Jr. has exposed in his writing just seems to be so much more free that the constrictive stylistic songs from The Strokes.

Another song, that coincidentally comes after “Call An Ambulance” that seems to hit me as well is “Scared.” I suppose you can call this “the ballad” of the album. To hear him simply open up with his raspy vocals “You know that something inside of you / Still plays a part in what I do / Always, I’m here for you” and whisper in the chorus “I know you’re still there because you’re scared you’ll lose every body / I know you’re still there because you’re scared that you’ll lose everything / I know you’re scared” though not as poetic or artful as other lyrics, but once again the back to basics theme wins me over.

Other songs such as “Blue Skies” “Bright Young Thing” “Holiday” and “Hard To Live (In The City)” displays that mister Albert Hammond Jr. definitely has the chops and capability to write competent songs.

But then you know what? I finally realized that Albert Hammond Jr. had actually grown up on the west coast prior to him inhibiting Hipsterville, New York. That definitely would explain his pop sensibilities. This might also explain maybe why his lyrics aren’t as raunchy as what we’ve heard from The Strokes. His choruses are more friendly and definitely a lot more inviting than anything on First Impressions of Earth… the only thing Strokesesque about Yours To Keep was the refreshing feeling I had when I first heard Is This It. Everything on Yours To Keep is pure Albert Hammond Jr.

Now, the American version of Yours To Keep comes with two bonus tracks. Though I am not too fond of “Postal Blowfish” a grittier rock song in comparison to his pop songs, he did do a cover of Buddy Holly’s “Well, All Right.” Being a huge fan of Buddy Holly since my wee days this is definitely an thumps up in my book. But I’ll admit it. The cover doesn’t really take the song in any grand direction. It’s practically a simple and identical rendition of the song. I wish he would’ve added some of the instrumentation that he had in his other songs… but I’ll take it. A cover of “Heartbeat” definitely would’ve been an interesting song for him to take on.

In the end, there weren’t too many rave reviews for Albert Hammond Jr.’s debut. The album won’t change the world of rock n’ roll and it wont’ sway the critics into finding another inherting prince of rock n’ roll. But Yours To Keep is a nicely polished album with a handful of memorable pop songs. Songs that would instead maybe sway the heart of a young darling you’re out on a date with and make her swoon long enough for that short moment to get that lil kiss.

MP3: “Back To The 101


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Twentyseven Views is primarily a music blog (although sometimes I will do the random post on a film or something culture or art related). All posts are genuine and honest opinions by the writer.

The writer is based in New York and has run a small indie record label, was a former publicist and has done freelance publicity. The writer has penchant taste in music that lean towards pop. Whether that be indie pop, dance music or hip-hop.

MP3s are used to help promote the artists and musicians. Please buy their art!

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