"I dragged my wife to see Albert and company here in Portland OR, tempting her by telling her that he would surely play a Strokes tune or two. Well, by the end of the evening, the only non-original song played was a Frank Black ditty, and we never even noticed that every other song was off of his album.
My wife was so smitten, she made me buy the album yesterday - the first day in stores - to have on her iPod at work. His work is definitely more melodic and thoughtful than the Strokes. - (think sweet and sticky - but just enough to you keep you consuming, not caring that your teeth are rotting out of your head), yet there are enough Strokesy guitar riffs, staccato drum beats and rhythms that are just as difficult to shake out of your head as Strokes stand-bys "Someday", "Hard to Explain", "When it Started", "12:51", and "You Only Live Once".
While I don't take the 5 star rating lightly, this album will get plenty of play on my ipod as well and definitely deserves the stature that befits an outstanding solo debut - especially one that could easily be overshadowed or dismissed in favor of the genre defining Strokes.
Free from the world
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 03/31/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Albert Hammond Jr. is best known as as a valuable member of the Strokes. But don't let that influence your expectations for his solo debut "Yours To Keep." On his own, Hammond turns out a totally different album: a shimmering, creative little pop collection that dips into lean rock'n'roll and vintage sunny pop.
It starts on a note that's very Beach Boys -- sunny, psychedelic-edged, and slightly sleepy. "Goodnight, I said to you goodnight/Dream of all the impossible/And you wake you see/That all these dreams aren't fake/They're real/Not impossible," Hammond croons in a slightly sleepy voice.
All that changes with "In Transit," the most Strokesian of all the songs -- a peppy, uptempo guitar number with slightly rebellious lyrics. But with "Bright Young Things," the style switches back to a circling guitar melody and a sunny musical edge, some folksy ballads, catchy rockers that bloom into peppy pop, toe-tapping acoustic plucks, and ringing songs about vacations in Jamaica.
Despite the variety of styles, Hammond actually does a pretty good job keeping a signature "sound" in these songs -- something a bit happier and slightly wistful than the Strokes. It does have a bit of a split personality, between rock and sunny pop, but I suspect it's something that Hammond will iron out in future albums.
The music has plenty of guitar -- both acoustic and bass -- both in lean sinewy riffs and in circling melodies. But Hammond and a variety of musicians (including Sean Lennon, Julian Casablancas, Ben Kweller, and Sammy James Jr) wrap the songs in a thin layer of other instruments -- tinkly melodica, ukelele, rippling keyboard, and some brass. There's even whistling at one point.
Hammond's voice is kind of scratchy, but it's still pretty pleasant to the ear. And he throws a lot of passion into his singing, whether it's a murmury croon or a belt-out wail. "And you will only hold me/If I will never tell you it would end/And you will never have me/Cause you were only wanting to be friends/And you will always hold out till he gave out."
"Yours To Keep" is a triumph for Hammond -- a solid, shimmering album that straddles between pop and rock. Definitely a good listen, but not for people seeking another Strokes album."
One of the unexpected surprises of the year
Paul Allaer | Cincinnati | 06/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Albert Hammond Jr. is "that other guy" to the Strokes lead singer Julian Casablancas, Hammond being the capable guitarist (and son of ...), but it's never been very clear how much he contributed to the Strokes' mysic (Casablancas writes all the lyrics). This album, Hammond's first solo outing away from the Strokes, brings perspective.
On "Yours to Keep" (12 tracks; 40 min.), the opener "Cartoon Music for Super Heroes" is like a blast from the 1960s Beach Boys. Upbeat "In Transit" is probably as close a Strokes song as anything on this album, and I love it. "Everyone Gets A Star" and "Bright Young Thing" are just about as good. "101" (1st single) is another one of those Strokes-sounding songs, and caps of an incredible first half of the album, which I rate 5 stars. The second half slows down considerably, although there as still some great moments like "Scared" (which features Julian Casablancas and Sean Lennon) and "Hard to Live in the City". The last 2 tracks of the album ("Postal Blowfish", which is just excellent, and "Well... All Right") are listed as "bonus tracks", but why is unclear to me, they simply sound like part of the album proper.
I have to admit that I really did not know what to expect from Hammond's solo debut, and I was very pleasantly surprised by this album. It flows by smoothly and at 40 min., it's over before you know it. One of the better surprises of the yeat so far for me. "
Sneaky Little Ole Albert. Who Knew?
J. Walkos | Tempe,AZ | 03/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have got to seriously hand it to Albert on this one. I went into this with luke warm expectations of a strokes retread album. Instead I was left with a sense of optimism and genuine elation from this album. These are fantastically crafted songs. Catchy, well written, harmonious, and emotional. This albums does sound like the strokes a bit however. The trademark itchy guitar prevails but works nicely with Alberts monotone but surprisingly refined voice. There are several tracks that are fantastic on this one. This album seems best suited for listening to straight through while drinking a Papst Blue Ribbon and smoking a spliff with good friends on a breezy summer day. I'm sure that is what Albert and guest stars Julian Casablanca and Sean Lennon were doing while recording this splendid piece of work that will most likely be overlooked this year but will be revisited in the future by future hipsters."