The Strokes guitarist, the floppy haired funk master of the band, Albert Hammond JR. is back with a new solo record and unlike AHJ now, it is Class A all the way. Momentary Masters shows AHJ at his best, rivalling his work with one of the coolest bands on the planet this record is full of touching vulnerability and deprecating humility to add gravitas to the cooler than ice image.
Released via Vagrant Records on July 31st the album is a tableaux of one of coolest men in the world trying to find their own way again. Lead single ‘Born Slippy’ was a substantial statement of intent, showing the Hammond Jr. hadn’t lost all of his swagger with that beautiful hair but instead is just cropping it. Trimming the angled riff sneers to their bare bones and keeping the attitude, with his vocals removing the precociousness of Casablancas’ drawl.
AHJ’s guitar work is impeccable, as you would expect, he creates modern melodies with timeless quality from the meaty electric sounds of ‘Caught By My Shadow’ which easily evokes Arctic Monkeys quality to his cover of Dylan’s ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright’ which is entirely transformed from the original but equally as touching.
‘Losing Touch’ is the closest to The Strokes as the guitarist gets on this effort. It has all the pop sensibilities of a sure fire hit, keeping indie rhythm and a classic sing-able chorus to make a lover-swinging dance floor filler. ‘Razor’s Edge’ hits a familiar chord with its incredible energy and unrelenting, soft yet continual string work while ‘Side Boob’ finishes the album off in a frenetic pace.
The album really shows AHJ at his imperious best. Following 2008’s Como Te Llama and 2013’s AHJ EP, we were worried if AHJ could ever really match his previous work with The Strokes and if he could ever find his own way, or at least a way he felt comfortable with. But by realising that said work was already him he has created an impeccable pop record.
No longer just a ‘cool’ guy but now an amazing artist in his own right.