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Artist: Albert Hammond Jr.

Discovering Albert Hammond Jr.’s solo material after cutting your teeth on his work with The Strokes was a breath of fresh air. Songs like “Everyone Gets A Star” and “In Transit” revealed him to have a keen songwriting instinct and an irresistible voice.

But the sweet melodies found on his two albums Yours To Keep and ¿Cómo Te Llama? came in stark contrast to his dangerous drug addiction of which Hammond shared the scary particulars in a recent interview with NME. “I used to shoot cocaine, heroin and ketamine. All together. Morning, night, 20 times a day. You know, I was a mess. I look back and I don’t even recognise myself,” he revealed.

Having kicked that habit - kudos to him - he set about crafting what has become a tight little EP simply titled AHJ. Released on bandmate Julian Casablancas’ Cult Records, the collection spans five songs and is an example of Hammond at his buoyant best.

Far from unappealing, the stuttering riffs on opener “St. Justice” invite you in while Hammond experiments with a higher register. “Rude Customer” hurtles forward at a frenetic pace that will excite any fans of early Strokes jams. Though nothing could rival his moment in the spotlight on “Last Nite,” Hammond has a delightful guitar solo on every track.

If left wanting more at the conclusion of “Cooker Ship,” take heart in the fact that Hammond is currently at work on more material and be sure check out his Toronto show at The Phoenix on 10 Nov.

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