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Albert Hammond, Jr. - ¿Como Te Llama?

Released on RCA Records, 7/8/08

Strokes fans already know they can find solace in Albert Hammond, Jr.'s solo output during his band's absence. On ¿Como Te Llama? he proves, once again, that he’s able to properly satiate. The album opener "Bargain of a Century" kicks off in good Strokes fashion with a chugging bass line exploding into staccato guitars. One of the more memorable tracks on the album, Hammond properly showcases his ability as a guitar player beyond the how-fast-he-can-strum style with a grandiose solo.

While the album contains its fair share of shining moments, Hammond seems to be treading the same ground he already crossed with the Strokes. Many of the tracks contain distorted vocals a la Julian Casablanca, especially on "In My Room" where he comes dangerously close to sounding like his bandmate to the point where one wonders whether or not we need the Strokes or if we just need Hammond.

Hammond does manage to stray from the formula for the instrumental opus, "Spooky Couch" featuring Sean Lennon on piano, which acts as an intermission but at 7 minutes it begins to drag. Other highlights are the reggae-dub jam "Borrowed Time" and the waltzy "You Won't Be Fooled by This". It would be nice for Hammond to have deviated from his safe-haven more often but his songwriting is so solid and he pulls off the Strokes sound with such conviction that it still sounds fresh and inviting.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars