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Albert Hammond Jr.

Being the offspring of a famous musician can get rough. Hank Williams Jr., son of the mega-Country legend, nearly killed himself before coming into his own. Julian Lennon got a lot of mileage sounding like his father but when it became evident he wasn't the reincarnated John (how could he be?) fans left in droves. Though Elvis Presley's only child, Lisa Marie, put out a handful of albums her personal life/tabloid appearances were really her claim to fame (including an ill-fated marriage to Michael Jackson - do you know how messed up a person has be to be to marry the one-time king of pop?).

So if you have to have a musician-father it's nice if he earns a good living but not be too famous.

Albert Hammond Jr's dad was the guy who penned and recorded the lame, not to mention inaccurate, '70s pop pap "It Never Rains In Southern California" (actually it does rain but not nearly enough). Refusing to leave well enough alone, Hammond Sr. co-wrote one of Leo Sayer's most annoying ballads (and Sayer specialized in annoying ballads), "When I Need You." The capper came when he composed the Willie Nelson/Julio Iglesias train wreck "To All The Girls I've Loved Before," which naturally became a enormous hit.

Considering the old man's track record, young Hammond correctly deduced that no one in L.A. was going to give his music the time of day, so he wisely split to New York and film school. But a film career was put on hold when Hammond joined The Strokes as their rhythm guitarist.

The Strokes made their debut in '01. Two years later, with the release of "Room On Fire," the group was huge. The usual mode of operation had vocalist Julian Casablancas writing the songs and Nick Valensi playing lead guitar. That left Hammond to help compose a handful of tracks and play the occasional lead.

When The Strokes took a (lengthy) break in '06, partially because Valensi had a new-born to attend to, Hammond took the opportunity to record "Yours To Keep."

The set featured "101" (distributed exclusively through iTunes) and the follow-up single "Everyone Gets A Star." Casablancas provided backing vocals and played bass on "Scared." The '07 release was supported by Hammond's tour with Bloc Party.

He issued his second solo album, "Como Te Llama?" in '08.

The Stokes got back together for two albums, '11's "Angles" and '13's "Comedown Machine," their fifth album, which consisted of leftover tracks from "Angles" plus new material.

With The Strokes business completed for the time being, Hammond launched his third solo effort, "Momentary Masters." The guitarist said the '15 set was inspired by poet Anne Sexton and astrophysicists Carl Sagan.

Albert Hammond Jr. Discography


2006 Yours To Keep
2008 Como Te Llama?
2015 Momentary Masters

"Yours To Keep" is closer to '70s pop than The Strokes. The album has a number of quirky touches and turns reminiscent of Lindsey Buckingham's (Fleetwood Mac) solo career.

Of course, the two bonus tracks suggest where "Yours To Keep" might have gone. The speaker shredding Punk of "Postal Blowfish" is radically offset by a pleasant and very faithful rendition of Buddy Holly's gem "Well All Right."

The first solo album by a member of a successful band is often designed to alter expectations. To show there is more to the artist than previously acknowledged. Hammond, having accomplished that on "Yours To Keep", is more focused on "Como Te Llama?"

Eclectic is still the operational mode on "Momentary Masters." Hammond jumps from rhythms associated with sunny climes, to Strokes wannabees, to post-Punk power pop with synths. He handles it all very well but the low-key stuff, surprisingly, is what resonates.

Also see The Strokes.

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