|Albert Hammond, Jr. — AHJ [EP]|
Albert Hammond, Jr. — AHJ [EP]
Location: New York
Album release: November 29, 2013
Record Label: Cult Records
01. St. Justice (3:04)
02. Strange Tidings (3:40)
03. Carnal Cruise (2:49)
04. Rude Customer (2:24)
05. Cooker Ship (2:56)
By Stuart Berman; October 9, 2013; Score: 6.8
→ Albert Hammond Jr. is not the most popular Stroke, nor the most rock-star-stylish, nor the one who attracts an inordinate amount of popular comedic actresses, nor even the quiet one. But he is nonetheless the Strokesiest of the Strokes — if you were to ever dress up as a Stroke for Halloween, you’d be copping Hammond’s one-size-too-small thrift-store sports jacket, skinny tie, Chuck Taylors, and hair photoshopped off of Billy Ficca's head on the first Television album cover. Accordingly, out of all the extracurricular projects the Strokes have pursued over the years, Hammond’s solo releases have hewed most closely to the band’s bleary-eyed, tousled charm and classicist tendencies.
→ However, in the five years since Hammond’s last album, the Strokes have moved further and further away from that signature scrappy sound, expanding their sonic vocabulary with notoriously mixed results. Perhaps not coincidentally, Hammond’s new EP sticks to the narrowest of L.E.S. lanes. Where 2006’s Yours to Keep and 2008’s ¿Cómo te Llama? presented homespun interpretations of Hammond’s most iconic inspirations (John Lennon, the Beach Boys, Bob Marley), on AHJ he mines a more easily attainable influence: his own band circa 10 years ago.
→ Hammond has recently come clean about the various hard-drug habits that plagued him throughout the Strokes’ ascent, which he finally kicked shortly after the release of ¿Cómo Te Llama?. As such, there’s a sense that Hammond is forcefully hitting the reset button here, stripping his songs back down to the basics, and regaining his confidence by playing within his comfort zone. (He handles all the instrumental parts on the record, save for drums.) Running a mere five songs and 15 minutes, AHJ is a wholly fat-free effort that favors tight, snappy, emotionally direct songcraft over the genre experiments and instrumental excursions of ¿Cómo Te Llama? that suggested Hammond was headed down a more ponderous path.
→ Hammond may not be as casually charismatic as Julian Casablancas, and his songs can be modest and unassuming to a fault — the gently loping "St. Justice" is not so much an opening salvo as a warm-up exercise to check the levels of each instrument. → But he brings a convincing poignancy and urgency when required. “Strange Tidings” recalls the dream-pop drive of “Hard to Explain”, yet lines like “If I’m guilty/ It’ll show” and “control is so hard to find” provide sobering reminders of a time when Hammond had to wear long sleeves even on the hottest summer days. But while oblique references to Hammond’s darkest hours abound on AHJ (“Cooker Ship” conjures images of burnt spoons and bottoming-out in the sort of fantastical terms his hero-turned-buddy Bob Pollard would appreciate), the energy here is one of spirited, defiant revitalization. And in the amazingly compact “Rude Customer”, Hammond turns in a song that would’ve been the hands-down highlight on any of the past three Strokes albums. If you're precisely the sort of disenchanted old-school Strokes fan who would respond to that with, "Well, that's not saying much," then the lean econo-pop of AHJ will feel all the more like a gift. (http://pitchfork.com/)
→ "Quelques mois après la sortie du très mélancolique, voire triste Comedown Machine, c’est chez Albert Hammond, Jr. que se ravive la flamme des Strokes. Déjà auteur de deux albums, Yours to Keep et ¿Cómo Te Llama?, le chevelu livre un nouvel ep pétri de riffs stroksiens qui manquaient cruellement au cinquième album des New-Yorkais.
→ Il y a du détachement dans AHJ, une idée d’insouciance (Strange Tidings) qui donne une légèreté bienvenue aux titres de celui qui dit être passé proche de la déperdition totale ces dernières années. Sorti sur le label de son Julian Casablancas de chanteur, AHJ ressuscite aussi le rock patraque et décousu des caves de bars new-yorkais avec un aplomb et une facilité parfois bluffants (Carnal Cruise, Rude Customer). Albert Master Hammond. " (source: www.lesinrocks.com)
Agent: Marsha Vlasic at ICM Talent
|Albert Hammond, Jr. — AHJ [EP]|