Albert Hammond, Jr.: Momentary Masters

Solo Stroke gets reflective on a warm, cozy album

While Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas uses his time outside the band to pursue his artier impulses, guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. packs his third solo disc with the band's signature crisp melodies, curt guitar churn and New Wave synth ripple. As a singer and lyricist, though, Hammond has an openhearted, somewhat quizzical mien that's a far cry from the Strokes' poker-faced chic ("Put your ego aside," he advises on "Losing Touch"). The tunes could be tighter at times, but his charm sells them, especially on "Born Slippy," which cops a title from Nineties EDM gods Underworld for a cute meditation on the passage of time. He's a Stroke for all seasons.