Filed by M. Trevor Higgins
There is little to dislike about on Yours to Keep, the solo debut from Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. The songs aren’t earth shattering, as well, but sometimes the earth doesn’t need to be shattered.
Sometimes, all it needs are well crafted pop songs featuring above-average guitar riffs.
Perhaps Hammond’s biggest accomplishment is steering the record away from previous efforts by his previous band. Two tracks the ice gets thin In Transit, a tune that starts with a guitar hook that could have been, maybe should have been, on another Strokes record. But Hammond’s surprisingly song vocals hold up and the song becomes solely his.
Hammond’s musical ear was passed on from his father, who had his own hit with It Never Rains in Southern California. Hammond Jr. draws up some West Coast imagery of his own on 101.
Yours to Keep is probably a fine album for a drive down the 101. On Hard to Live in the City Hammond Jr. chases lost love before admitting he has no answers. I wish that I could sit in the sun, he sings. If he were in the sun, this is an album he might play: Pleasant, relaxed and not too thought-provoking.
Three and a half stars out of five.
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