ALBERT HAMMOND-Momentary Masters

I didn’t love The Strokes. I always thought they were okay, but their music didn’t really move me. Nor did lead singer Julian Casablanca’s solo work. It always seemed out of focus.

Then came Albert Hammond’s first solo album, Yours to Keep, which back in 2007 made my top ten.  And it only lost to Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible, Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black, Ga Ga Ga Ga Spoon, and a few other phenomenally great records. (Inexplicably, I put Ghostface Killah’s Big Doe Rehab above it—I was wrong there, I admit it.) By 2009, I was still listening to it enough that it was a runner up for my “best of the decade” list.

So, does his latest album, Momentary Masters, compare? Yes. He’s sober now, having rid himself of an expensive, public and painful coke and heroin habit, and returning to write powerful pop songs like the single, Losing Touch.

And then there’s the bizarrely titled Born Slippy, which has nothing to do with Underworld’s iconic cut…

That one-two punch should inspire you to throw down ten bucks at iTunes and buy this record. But for the closer, Hammond joins the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Byrds, Shawn Colvin and PJ Harvey by covering a Bob Dylan song so well he makes you forget the original. Yeah, Hammond’s version of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” uses a drum machine and stands in contrast to the rest of the punky, brawling and rugged songs on the album—but it’s the perfect counterpoint. It’s a rest stop halfway through the ride—and well worth the layover.

Another excellent album.

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