Albert Hammond Jr.

Chip off the old pop

Albert Hammond Jr. is The Strokes' Ron Wood, or maybe its Izzy Stradlin, or . . . y'know, the guy who's content to bash out a few chords and look cool while leaving the bulk of the flashy soloing and histrionics to someone else, but who's usually the band's secret songwriting weapon. The scruffy, spirally 'froed, Stratocaster-wielding Hammond definitely has the genes for success on his own — his British-born dad was a successful pop singer and songwriter in the '60s, '70s and '80s (among other hits, the elder Hammond penned the Willie Nelson-Julio Iglesias smash, and karaoke standard, "To All the Girls I've Loved Before") — and Junior shows off a heretofore hidden knack for tunesmithery, singing, and general frontmanship on his recently released Yours to Keep. It's nothing groundbreaking — just a completely entertaining, extremely well-crafted collection of melodic power-pop and summer-pop that delivers genuine warmth instead of detached (some might say poseur) cool.

 
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