When big bands dissolve and members create off-shoot projects there is always the approach of “I wonder how much like ___ it’ll sound like.” Take Alex Turner – his solo Submarine EP was very poetic, but had typical Arctic Monkeys characteristics. However, there is always a sense of optimism that they will go completely off-piste and every sound affiliated with them will be forgotten temporarily.
For ALBERT HAMMOND JR, aka provider of backing vocals, guitar and keys for The Strokes, combining these two ideals has proved effortless in latest LP, FRANCIS TROUBLE. Take Set to Attack: opening with a typically Strokes distortion and attracting sharp, cutting hooks for the next three-or-so-minutes while “Hold on!” is pleaded throughout shows that his origins are still alive and kicking.
However, the likes of Strangers and Rocky’s Late Night give a sound that is somewhat more ‘pop’ than previously explored. Making Francis Trouble a much tighter and explorable record, Albert Hammond JR has crafted something brilliant with various twists and turns throughout.
The melodic guitars of Stop and Go are a real highlight of the album. The full track is dictated by it and the ghostly, husky vocals complement it elegantly – laden with toe-tapping beats, Stop and Go is certain to go down as one of 2018‘s best and it would not be out of place soundtracking a beautifully shot 1980‘s movie where the protagonist drives off into the sunset, face beaming with a smile, driving a convertible.
All round, it is an album created with such precision and brilliance that Albert Hammond Jr does not need plaudits or to be told of amazing reviews – however, I am sure when people hear this record, they will agree that it is up there with anything The Strokes ever released. Bold statement? Yes. A true one? Absolutely.