It’s not an enviable position, effectively being the Nicola from Girls Aloud of the world’s test-tube perfect indie band. Curly of hair, thick of eyebrow and with an unnerving penchant for holding his guitar a little bit too high, Hammond Jr looked as though he was someone’s geeky cousin filling in -til another jacket and haircut arrived to throw some shapes.
But what he lacked in louche NYC cool he appeared to make up for in musical ability, following the much maligned route of countless frustrated ‘invisible men’ by releasing a solo album, in a bid for creative sanity and a shot at autonomy. Hammond came up with the goods, though, producing the breezy, charming Yours To Keep in 2006.
Two years later and with his day-job on hiatus, Hammond has returned with a new collection under the cute title Como Te Llama (translated as -What’s Your Name’). While Yours To Keep broke free of the stark angular Strokes fashion, favouring hushed Beach Boys style sunny lullabies, this album sounds less like Hammond forging new ground and more like a low-quality ersatz version of The Strokes.
Which makes you wonder really what the point of all this is other than an impossibly dull egotistical exercise? The album mooches along like a series of dodgy demos and unfinished tracks of average plodding, fuzzy, pizzazz-free boy-rock, full of irritating stop-start guitars pedestrian drum beats and simplistic rhythms. Hammond seems to be bored with it himself, yawning all over tracks rather than attempting to sing. Only the jaunty buzz of -Miss Myrtle’ and the Broken Social Scene inspired instrumental -Spooky Couch’ manage to raise the album above dirge level.