When a member of a famous band goes solo, essentially one of two things can happen. Either they will take their new creative freedom as a chance to express musical depths that they could not in their previous group, or they will stick close to the sound that brought them success, and more or less deliver what fans expect from them. Albert Hammond Jr.’s solo work is certainly more of the second camp, with all the turn-of-the-century garage rock style that made the Strokes so successful.
That is not to disparage the solo work of Hammond Jr. Indeed, the fact that he was once part of the Strokes, who’s peak was both so bright and so brief, only makes his solo career that much more satisfying. With his solo work Hammond seems to make that statement that the Strokes could still be this good, if only fame and in-fighting hadn’t torn them apart.
Put any of the tracks off his latest, 2018’s Francis Trouble up against Is This It or Room On Fire to see just how well they hold up. The clean, concise guitar melodies that were so foundational to The Strokes timeless sound are just as strong in Hammond’s solo work as they were fifteen years ago. Album opener “Far Away Truths” displays Hammond’s strengths as a songwriter and guitarist, and seems well suited to the kind of energetic live performance that the former Strokes guitarist is known to deliver.
That is not to say that Albert Hammond Jr.’s music is only for those nostalgic for the heyday of The Strokes. His work is strong enough to stand on its own, and should be appealing not only to anyone who loved the garage bands that exploded at the start of the new millennium, but also to anyone with an affinity for the post-punk bands that inspired them. As much as one can clearly hear the influence of Hammond’s old band on his solo work, there is also a clear hint of bands like The Replacements and Husker Du here as well.
Albert Hammond Jr. will bring his solo act to 20th Century Theatre Monday December 3rd. Tickets are available online for $23. Join us there for a fresh taste of garage rock goodness.
Where: 20th Century Theatre, Cincinnati, OH
When: Monday December 3rd, 8:00 pm
How Much: $23
Win tickets: Here