Everyone’s favourite floppy-haired Stroke, Albert Hammond Jr, is back with his first release since 2008’s ‘Como Te Llama?’ Titled ‘AHJ’.
The comeback sees The Strokes guitarist, Albert Hammond, Jr. venture away from the New York rockers’ trademark sound and into a territory of his own. A truly brilliant collection of hits, the confessional EP comes fresh after the musician’s well-documented battle with drug abuse; it looks like this offering is his strongest to date.
As Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner said a few years back “There is always that one band that comes along…and manages to hit you in just the right way and changes your whole perception of things.” Whilst this may be true in the case of Turner’s own band, The Strokes were one of the first of the century to influence a generation themselves, leaving a sizable following adopting their style of skinny jeans and Converse. So how does AHJ’s solo material measure up?
Opening on a throbbing, dreamy number with ‘St. Justice’, the bass-heavy track reminisces of a number of Strokes songs that could be found on 2006’s ‘First Impressions of Earth’. However, this approach is let slip on ‘Rude Customer’ an intoxicating sub-three minute snarl which undoubtedly hits the spot.
‘Strange Tidings’ dirties you with its charm; whilst heartfelt moments are to be found in the form of “I can’t believe I lost my mind” a lyric that proves the musician is on the up. Closing number ‘Cooker Ship’ sees Hammond unearth full lyrical prowess on listeners and embeds a few power chords in the centre for good measure before going all out with some truly knockout riffs; this fine release slowly fades away as the embers settle.
There’s not a bad one amongst them on ‘AHJ’ and it’s clear to see that the man himself is finally becoming more comfortable with who he is as a person and a musician. It doesn’t quite reach the impossibly high standards that The Strokes have set with previous material, but it’s time for something different and Albert Hammond, Jr. delivered. 7/10
Words by Lauren Wade.