Albert Hammond does not sound like much of a rocker. However, for those individuals that do not know, ey was one of the integral parts to the seminal band The Strokes. The opening track on â€œYours To Keepâ€ is â€œCartoon Music For Superheroesâ€, and it does not sound like the hard, catchy rock of The Strokes for a second. Rather, Hammond plays a style of dreamy pop that has a lot of influence drawn from the sixties pop acts like The Turtles and The Monkees.
Hell, there is even a nod to the sun-baked sounds of the Beach Boys, with more than a passing glance to their â€œKokomoâ€. The track is endearing but it does not yet mark a solo hit for Hammond. The second track on the disc makes a much stronger play for radio rotation. This track, â€œIn Transitâ€, still uses a lot of the earlier influences to create a track. However, unlike â€œCartoon Musicâ€, â€œIn Transitâ€ has a link to the work of acts like Interpol and Fischerspooner, in that there is just a minor hit of electronic music that plays on the edge of the track. The hooky, Polaris-like drum beats of â€œEveryone Gets A Starâ€ works with the deadpan vocals of Hammond during this track to play to the Bloodhound Gang crew. This track could make it up the charts in the â€œironicâ€ way, and the song should be noticed for itsâ€™ smart arrangements. This is the first track, in fact, that makes me appreciate Hammond as a master of arrangement. By the end of â€œEveryone Gets A Starâ€, Hammond is sitting pretty. For my money, it is the lead up to the chorus on â€œBright Young Thingâ€ that makes â€œYours To Keepâ€ for me.
The emotional gravity, coupled with impressive instrumentation, is THE reason why individuals should pick up this album. Couple that with a linkage back to the sixties sound of prior tracks along with the dance-like drumming, and one has a track that shines in both the single and album context. Â Albert Hammond, Jr on eir â€œYours To Keepâ€ does well in the construction of a post-Strokes style. I actually prefer Hammondâ€™s sound at points over the highly repetitive sound of The Strokes. I just hope, that as the years pass, that Hammond can come up with more in the way of solo efforts that are up to the same high quality of â€œYours To Keepâ€.Â
Top Tracks: Bright Young Thing, Blue Skies