Albert Hammond Jr.'s sound is unmistakable -- the staccato rhythm guitar he used in The Strokes that launched a generation of indie-rock guitar bands.
And that sound is proudly on display on Hammond's second solo album, "Momentary Masters" (Vagrant), though The Strokes guitarist certainly strives to make other sounds as well. His guitar work is decidedly more pointed on the first single, "Born Slippy" (which, sadly, is not a cover of the Underworld classic) incorporating bits of Afro-pop and Talking Heads-y world beat into the mix of indie rock.
Hammond seems drawn back to his Strokes day job as the album progresses, though, eventually ending with a thunderous one-two punch that could have easily come from "Room on Fire." "Drunched in Crumbs" gallops along like "Hard to Explain," but he has more edge in his vocals than Julian Casablancas and the idea that "You're somebody's fault" is a clever one. On the even jumpier "Side Boob," Hammond rips through the lyrics at a breakneck pace, crafting catchiness in a full sprint.
"Momentary Masters" may make you miss The Strokes even more, but it also shows Hammond can now easily stand on his own.
ALBERT HAMMOND JR.
THE GRADE B+
BOTTOM LINE The Strokes guitarist goes it alone.