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Tag Archives: The Strokes

For the first single off their debut album ‘You and I’, someone in or around Cut Off Your Hands decided it was a good idea to release ‘Happy As Can Be’. That person was terribly mistaken. ‘Happy As Can Be’ is a dreadfully bland single, sounding like a mixture between a 90s pop-Christmas song and a The Bravery b-side.

It’s a shame really, because Cut Off Your Hands can be good at times. ‘Expectations’ was a good single, ‘Still Fond’ and ‘Closed Eyes’ were great. ‘Oh Girl’ wasn’t though, and ‘Happy As Can Be’ is quite frankly woeful. In conclusion, Cut Off Your Hands need to return to the form that they had with the ‘Shaky Hands EP’ and songs like ‘You and I’ and ‘Closed Eyes’, where they blended their pop hooks with The Strokes cool, and The Cribs urgency.

When I saw them live, Cut Off Your Hands were exceptional, this song thuogh, is awful.

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I wasn’t originally planning on reviewing ¿Cómo Te Llama? but I’ve been listening to it almost non-stop since it was released and I felt I had to.

¿Cómo Te Llama? is the second album from The Strokes guitarist-come-solo-artist Albert Hammond Jr and I think he’s excelled himself again. Originally the solo stuff was songs he wrote for The Strokes but didnt’t fit. Now not only is ¿Cómo Te Llama? better than his first album, Yours To Keep, they’ve both been as good as if not better than the last Strokes album, First Impressions Of Earth.

¿Cómo Te Llama? kicks off with Bargain of a Century, with a fast bassline that could have been on Room On Fire, before AH Jr comes in with Julian Casablancas-esque vocals. However, this is not a Strokes record, and the perfect guitar-pop of In My Room shows what AH Jr can do. Catchy as Last NIte, and with brilliant little pieces of guitar riff-age overlapping and playing around the vocals, this is possibly my favourite track on the record. Lisa follows it, starting with a lo-fi drum-machine intro, this song develops into a deep mix of pianos, fuzzy guitars and distant vocals.

Fourth track GfC was the first single released from the album, and again it’s perfect guitar-pop from Hammond, from the quiet guitar intro to the almost yelling vocals in the chorus. By this point in the first listen of this album, I was already considering whether I prefer Hammond alone to The Strokes. The album continues through the Sex Pistols-esque guitars of The Big Americana, the dark “ooooh-woo-oohs” of The Rocket, and the scattered guitars and wandering bass-line of Victory At Monterey. After these the album continues in much the same vein, but with slightly less quality, including an eerie 7 minute instrumental called Eerie Couch.

Overall, ¿Cómo Te Llama? has all the quality and instant-impact of Yours To Keep and perhaps more depth. These aren’t Strokes songs, but that doesn’t mean they’re not as good. AH Jr was one of my highlights of the Leeds Festival last year, when he and his band headlined the Carling Stage, and with this album, I can’t help but wish he’d headline it again, instead of the emo-pop dross of Elliot Minor or the NME-scene-indie of The Kills. Ah well…

You can buy the album from here, with a bonus DVD of live songs.

The New Sound. x