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Albert Hammond, Jr. – Como Te Llama?

I’ll start off by saying that after just one listen to Yours To Keep, I was a fan of Albert Hammond, Jr. This feeling was intensified many times over after seeing him three times at the 2007 SXSW.

I was pretty excited to hear his new stuff, but I can’t say that I was blown away as I was the first time. It also looks like his first record deal with New Line/Scratchie, owned by James Iha (former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist) and Adam Schlesinger, was a one-time deal. It doesn’t look like the label has done much since their 2007 SXSW showcase, so that may be why Hammond jumped in bed with Red Ink.


Back to the album. Hammond’s orchestration, guitar skills and craft for songwriting still shine bright on ¿Como Te Llama?, but if you want to take that question literally, there are occasions of heart thumping, fair-to-midland, and others that feel like déjà vu.

When the guitar invasion on “Lisa” came in during the chorus I almost thought I’d left one of my IE pages on a MySpace profile that had gotten stuck and just started playing at random (and you know what I mean about the “loading” forever status on many band pages). While the intricacy of the instrumentation is commendable, his vocals seemed to be drowned out by this (like the mixing guy fell asleep at the wheel), and throughout the song I felt like he was stuck in the bathroom while the other band members were rocking in the living room with the rest of the party.

Speaking of party, the basslines and deep beats of the front stage drum rhythms on “Victory at Monterey” make for a very groovy time, prime for a Ting Tings or Spank Rock remix. It’s also the stand out track that is most separate from Yours To Keep (as opposed to “You Won’t Be Falling For This,” “G-Up” and “In My Room”) or his past musical history.

I could say the same about the tides of “Boss America” seem to pay tribute to late ‘60s, early ‘70s American rock, with a four-to-the-floor drive, complete with feathered roach clip attached to the rear view mirror and touches of cow bell. Or the ska-esque, early Elvis Costello vapor that presides over “Borrowed Time,” which shifts favorably to the happy, sunny, signature Hammond glow.

As the only instrumental in the group, “Spooky Couch” is a perfect song to be set on repeat for a hangover Sunday or lazy afternoon in a hammock. And the guitar lines in “GFC” spotlight Hammond’s ethereal grace.

¿Como Te Llama? in no way falls into the sophomore slump category, it just feels void of those hooks from Hammond’s first solo venture that sunk deep into this listener’s cranium and heart.


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