The Strokes' rhythm guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr. made
a separate identity for himself in 2006 with the release of his debut
solo album, Yours To Keep. It was an excellent start to what
should have been a path that followed along the lines of Rod Stewart
after he branched off from his band Faces, or like Phil
Collins after he went solo from Genesis, but Hammond's
second offering, Como Te Llama falls short of such expectations.
The album lacks any sparks or memorable tunes that will give it longevity.
It's a complete and utter washout that only avid fans will find appealing.
Hammond's group, Marc Eskenazi (guitar), Josh Latanzi
(bass), and Matt Romano (drums), move like programmed machines
through the tracks. There is very little change in the recipes of
folk rock batters from track to track. The band makes loaf after loaf
of the same '60s tinged pop with mind-numbing chord dynamics and folksy-wicked
piping. It's perfect for people who like the same old mundane trails,
but it's a total disappointment to people who expected more from Hammond,
whose debut solo album pointed the singer-guitarist in a good direction.
The elasticity of the guitar chords in tracks like "Bargain
Of The Century" and "In My Room" move like programmed
patterns, and the reggae-sweetened drips added on numbers like "Lisa"
and "Borrowed Time" seem like gangly appendages rather
than actual pieces connected to the melodies, although the sharp
guitar blades piercing the center of "Lisa" pack in some
high powered thrusts. Otherwise, the intervals of chord progressions
moving in and out of the melodies follow a generic format and predictable
schematics. The band does try their hand at shoegazy atmospherics
in "Spooky Couch," which does well. The opulent string
arrangements create enchanting swirls and the ambient effects are
subtle and understated but beautifully tailored.
The band's music has very few points that stand out. Most of the
album is handled with hemorrhaging folk rock cuts, taut guitar repetitions
stylized with '60s pop inflections, and a few sips of reggae-slanted
grooves. The melodic layers are jammed in so snugly that the music
seems muddled most of the time, like the keyboard sweeps and snare
drum strokes which tangle so tightly through "Feed Me Jack"
that it is hard to tell them apart. Hammond's second offering is an
album that has very little appeal outside of his core audience, and
even they will probably turn back to Hammond's first release, Yours
To Keep, because it was just better.
Check out more
e-mail the chief
Like this article?
it to a friend!