It’s been a funny old year for The Strokes. Despite a hoax suggesting they were going to play an intimate show at Camden’s Dingwalls that caught out many loyal fans, and no real sign we’ll ever see them again as a band, both Julian Casablancas and Albert Hammond Jr. have released the finest solo record of their respective careers. With Casablancas set to bring The Voidz to Concorde 2 in November, it was down to Albert Hammond Jr. to set a precedent with his own solo show at the very same venue. Thankfully, and brilliantly, he did just that with a career spanning set, a dose of fun-loving humour, and an incredible amount of exuberance.
Recording and performing as a solo artist for nearly as long as he has with The Strokes, Albert Hammond Jr has undergone something of a musical rebirth on his fourth solo studio album Francis Trouble. Inspired by the deeply personal topic of the stillborn death of his twin brother Francis, it is by no means a morbid exploration of mortality. Instead, it is as if new life has been breathed into the illustrious New Yorker creatively – Hammond Jr himself has pondered whether the new direction is a result of the life that he shared his mother’s womb with for that short period. Regardless of where it has come from, the end result is by far his most complete and accomplished solo album yet.