Release Date: Jul 8, 2008
Record label: Red Int / Red Ink
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
A big part of what made Albert Hammond, Jr. 's first solo album, Yours to Keep, such a pleasant surprise was that it sounded like a lively working holiday right after the Strokes' albums were beginning to sound like a job for the band. And because Yours to Keep was such a pleasant surprise, expectations were higher for its follow-up, ¿Como Te Llama? Maybe it's just coincidence -- or the fact that a couple more years passed since First Impressions of Earth was released -- but ¿Como Te Llama? sounds a lot more like a Strokes album than Yours to Keep did.
There is no better metaphor for the music on Albert Hammond Jr.’s sophomore solo album, ¿Cómo Te Llama?, than the cover. The figures of four men (Hammond and his new band) sitting in a room are cut out and left looking like empty silhouettes; emotionless, empty, devoid of any unique characteristics, yet it's technically proficient (I am loath to think how long it took the cover designer to do that work on Photoshop). When he struck out on his own in 2006 (via Yours to Keep), after lead Stroke Julian Casablancas decided to take a break, Hammond sounded like a college student who had just discovered he had a knack for songwriting and dug through his dad's Lennon albums for inspiration.
Casually solid second Stroke's solo shot With his second record, Strokes’ guitarman Albert Hammond, Jr. demonstrates that his solo career is notable in its own right. While the songwriting varies across ¿Como Te Llama?'s 13 cuts, on tracks like the workmanlike opener “Bargain of the Century,” Hammond sounds like a one-man Strokes with vocals ironically more sympathetic than most of what Julian Casablancas usually musters, but with a casual fuzz to the production that continually coos “easygoing side project.” Even when Hammond vamps on “Victory at Monterey” or gets his skronk-funk on at the start of “Borrowed Time,” everything is austere but cozy.