Yours to Keep

The solo debut from the afro'd Strokes guitarist banks on a shaggy, freewheeling sound and a deadpan sexiness that sounds pretty, um, Strokesy. Hammond doesn't out-write his band – several songs here get vague – but Yours to Keep is more expansive than the Strokes, and sweeter: The opener, "Cartoon Music for Superheroes," is a seductive Beach Boys update complete with angelic harmonies; the slyly catchy "Bright Young Thing" sounds like a Seventies soft-rock hit sped up and fuzzed out; and "Holiday" is a jangly let's-run-away love song, with props to Jamaica. He gets vocal help from Sean Lennon, Ben Kweller and lead Stroke Julian Casablancas, but Hammond's ragged croon jumps between heartfelt and cool, and it carries most of these songs. Put it this way: If he stays solo, he'll have a better career than Graham Coxon.

From The Archives Issue 1014: November 30, 2006