Okay, lets get this out of the way here and now - The Strokes. I really do not care for them one bit, I find their music to be contrived, the image a little forced, and I just find them really rather boring and uninspired. So you can only imagine what my feelings on Albert Hammond Jr.s debut solo album were. I was worried that Yours to Keep was going to be another garage rock album.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that while it does have a small amount of the garage rock sound, such as the track In Transit, which does sound like a cast off of Hammond Jr.s day job, Yours to Keep has a much quieter and more intimate thing to it. Blue Skies is a very good example of this.
The album is very much an ode to the pop bands of the 1960s. You do hear many loving nods to The Beatles sound throughout the album, and album opener Cartoon Music for Superheroes sounds like a bad Brian Wilson song, not that this is a bad thing - even a bad Brian Wilson song is better than most fare. There are also nods to The Velvet Underground and at times it does sound like Hammond is trying to do his best solo John Lennon impression with the vocals.
The track of the album that is the simply brilliant is 101 (Back to the 101 outside the US), which features Sean Lennon on keyboards and backing vocals. The song has a big guitar sound and the chorus hooks you every time but again does feel a bit like a rejected b-side from the last The Strokes album. Call An Ambulance is another gem of a song, which has the folk-lite feel of Hammond father.
The album closes on the dreadful Hard to Live in the City, which is, to be quite frank, an organ led mess of a song that really is a poor way to finish any album. So the less said about that the better. The US album does come with two bonus tracks in the form of a pair of covers, Postal Blowfish and Well All Right, and whilst both are darn good songs I always find tacking bonus songs onto an album a terrible idea as it takes away from the flow of an album and what the artist was aiming for.
Yours to Keep is an interesting album, if you look at it in comparison to the sound of The Strokes it becomes almost like the weedier little brother. On a nice sunny day however, Id have to say that Id be quite content to be sat out in the sun relaxing to this rather than listening to Hammonds rhythm guitar on Last Nite.
6.5 / 10
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