Any band with a large measure of success is going to have one member, maybe more, that will want to walk upon the tempting waters of solo efforts. If you’re that good in the band, the general feel is “what can I do by myself.” Well, all right, have at it. Albert Hammond, Jr. of the NYC-based The Strokes has put together his own album of 10 songs that include 2 more bonus tracks.
With some melancholy songs like the VU sounding (think “Femme Fatale”) opener track, “Cartoon Music for Superheroes” and a wealth of other influences that frame all of Yours To Keep, Albert Hammond, Jr’s foray into solo work is something good. And while the familiarities are like an active compass, you can’t deny the good intentions as well as the good musicianship. It’s evident that he tries very hard to stay away from the sounds of The Strokes, although he fails to do so on “101,” and “Hard to Live in the City.”
The bonus tracks are bonus tracks simply because they represent studio playfulness, likely nothing that he’d want anyone to indefinitely tie into the album as a work. While the first “extra” track, “Postal Blowfish” is largely expendable, the remaining bonus cut, “Well…All Right” is not a bad tune. However, neither song “fits” the album.
I find Yours To Keep a satisfying first adventure. I’d like this Strokes guitarist to continue his exploration and give us more in the future. I’m willing to bet he gets better, much better.