With songwriting pedigree in his family and his own history, it is little wonder that Los Angeles born Albert Hammond Junior turned his hand to a solo-career. With three albums (Yours To Keep – 2006, Como Te Lama – 2008, Momentary Masters – 2015) already under his belt, Hammond has honed his craft as an excellent indie-rock songwriter and his upcoming release Francis Trouble out on March 9th is set to impress.
The son of prolific and million-selling songwriter for hire Albert Hammond, Hammond Jr first found success playing rhythm guitar and writing with the incredibly successful garage-rock band The Strokes, before creating his first solo record Yours To Keep during their hiatus in 2005-2007. Whilst sound-wise not completely different from the rhythm driven songs of The Strokes, this early album saw dreamier vocals from Hammond than the harsher ones of his bandmate Casablancas, whilst this project saw him working with an array of artists such as Sean Lennon and Jody Porter of pop-punk outfit Fountains of Wayne. Stand out track In Transit is still a staple in Hammond’s live sets though packs more a punch live, with more amped up guitars, less synth and the live power of Hammond’s vocals which are impressive.
Hammond’s second and third album, as well as the E.P AHJ which was released in between show something of a maturing in Hammond’s sound, with more glam-rock influences at the forefront as well as some admirable more ballad like songs such as St. Justice which gives Hammond’s dreamier style of vocals a chance to shine. His most recent album Momentary Masters has seen something of a perfecting of the art-rock style and it suits Hammond’s live style, with punchy riffs, singalong choruses and the opportunity to showcase his guitar skills in front of an audience which Hammond himself can work and encourage to be enthusiastic, even at gigs he isn’t headlining. Stand out track and one of Hammond’s most popular Caught In The Shadows is an excellent set-opener and a brilliant example of Hammond’s ability as a songwriter to write something which catches the attention.
With his sharp punk inspired dress sense, powerful voice and energetic stage presence, Hammond’s live performances are extremely enjoyable as evidenced by his recent support slots on Franz Ferdinand’s Always Ascending tour. His two newest tracks Muted Beatings and Far Away Truths are more garage-rock influenced but still have the trademark synths Hammond is fond of working with and the results are fantastic. They more than whet the appetite in anticipation of Hammond’s newest work and showcase how good the American indie-rock scene can get.