Release Date: Mar 9, 2018
Record label: Red Bull Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Near-death experiences. The oblivion of heartbreak. Getting royally, transcendentally high. Musicians have long cited numerous different life events as provoking them to really consider who they are. Albert Hammond Jr's own catalyst is slightly more unusual than that. In 1979, his mother miscarried ….
As far as album concepts go, Francis Trouble's is one of a kind. For his fourth solo effort, Albert Hammond, Jr. took inspiration from the fact that a small part of his stillborn twin Francis -- a fingernail, to be exact -- remained in the womb with him until his birth six months later. This could be morose subject matter, but Hammond, Jr.
As one of the five dapper New Yorkers who make up The Strokes, a band which helped shape my love for music in the early Noighties when guitar music had once again re-ignited from the echoes of grunge and the fading clamour of Britpop, Albert Hammond Jr. will always have his own little place in my heart. The first of The Strokes to step aside into an alternate musical avenue with his delightful first record Yours To Keep - a path all five have now taken to greater and lesser extents - Hammond Jr.
The hurried moments of "Far Away Truths", to the cinematic visions of "Muted Beatings" all across Francis Trouble Hammond searches for an identity and ultimately, finds one. The energy is frantic, with a youthful exuberance that refuses to listen to anyone until it's found. There are, of course, tinges of Strokes flavours which are impossible to ignore.
Albert Hammond Jr. has spent the last half-decade making the most of a second chance. After clawing his way back from the cocaine, heroin, and ketamine habits that nearly cost him his life, the Strokes guitarist has churned out the most focused music of his solo career in 2013's AHJ EP and his 2015 follow-up, Momentary Masters. His new full-length, Francis Trouble, was inspired by a lost twin who died in a miscarriage while Hammond continued to grow in utero.