Albert Hammond Jnr  Manchester Academy 3 - 25.11.06

Is there a point to all this is what we find ourselves thinking about 3 songs into tonight's set, but then it dawns on you that these songs are better than anything we've heard from Albert Hammond Jnr's full time band's entire output since the Strokes debut album "Is This It?"

Each song follows much the same pattern as any Strokes song on the debut album, albeit slightly slower, more rounded out and with much more depth than Julian Casablanca's could ever offer. I mean goddammit somewhere out of the reaches of Metallica's back catalogue comes a duel guitar riff that Justin Hawkins would kill his brother for and then literally 20 seconds later its gone never to be seen again with the crowd thinking what the f**k was that.

Perhaps the only criticism that could be levelled at tonight is there's no comparative "Last Night" or "New York City Cops" to send his solo career into the stratosphere, but "101" and "Scared" do damn fine jobs. At just 45 minutes the sets shorter than it should be, but New York's finest sticks to what he does best, sharp short blasts with the song always being more important than the musicians on stage.

To see such an artist in these intimate surroundings with no barrier at the front, no security and the rock'n'roll hedonism that can only come with intimate gigs must have inspired Albert Hammond Junior and you can only hope that he doesn't leave his solo career with just "Yours To Keep". Few artists can leave the comfort of their own band and make it on their own but you get
the feeling this guy is the one exception

Alex McCann

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