SUPERTOYS LAST ALL SUMMER LONG


Live Review: Albert Hammond Jnr.(Unpublished)
October 31, 2009, 1:41 am
Filed under: Live Reviews, Unpublished

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Albert Hammond Jnr.
Spring and Airbrake
8 July 2007

Do you remember those elegant young Manhattanites, those insocient demi-Gods lazily rescuing us from the doldrums of Starsailor, JJ72 and Corporation approved Nu-metal?

The Strokes made the world privy to Is This It almost six years ago. It might as well have been a lifetime ago. They showed the UK the way back to fast, edgy rock and rolling, back when most of tonight’s attendees were yay high. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since, and gushed through the door they left open in 2001. The Libertines, The Post-Libertines, the third generation, the Landfill indie boys, the fourth grade copyists. Gushing and gushing.

The man who sold a thousand pairs of skinny jeans stands downstage sporting a permanent, sleepy grin that’s topped by a frizzy barnet which in turn is haloed by the stage lights. It’s a little surreal to be just feet from him, close enough to smell the boot shine. Albert Hammond Jnr; the beating heart beneath The Stroke’s exquisite but calculated homage to L.E.S Cool.

Yours to Keep is an easy, charming alternative to The Strokes’ increasingly burly style and relief from the long shadow cast by an increasingly troubled Cassablancas. On record, the songs are intermittently marred by a tameness. Its likeable fare that is both nourishing and heart-stealing but the horizontal song writing, eternally bathed in diffused light, is frequently energy-deficient and occasionally forgettable. Live though ‘Bright Side’, ‘In Transit’, ‘Blue Skies’ and crowd-pleaser ‘Holiday’ all but fasten great white wings to The Spring and fly it out of Belfast towards the nearest Red Bull dispensary. The set gushes luxuriously with skin-pricklingly good New Wave, bolstered by the harmonic grace of not just two but three guitars.

On completion of his signature song, the Strokes-ian soufflé ‘Back To The 101’ it feels like a good time to call it a night. The band have other ideas though, re-igniting with ‘Postal Blowfish’ by (Stroke’s favourite) Guided By Voices, which kicks off an encore of scuzzy Garage Rock. Most of which makes you want to travel back to 1978 and split vein out the back of some Bowery shit-hole with a cast of New Yorkan junkie sub-humans. Like the good old days, or how we imagine it to have been.

Arguably, out of the three Strokes albums Hammond Jnr.’s cute little debut record shares the most in common with Room on Fire. However, with the onus on sunshine melodies at every opportunity, he’s successfully distanced himself from Cassablancas’ burnt-out melancholy and trust-fund ennui, painting a vivid profile of his life, his loves and his city that radiates with all the hope and promise of Manhattan at dawn. Both on record and here tonight the songs possess a dainty élan when compared to the blustery overstretching on First Impressions of Earth. This is the live set of a guy who is still enjoying the opportunity to build his own world, unheeded by the choking controls of stern planning officials.

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