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:: Albert Hammond, Jr. :: The Pierces ::
25 November 2006 / Academy 3 / Manchester
By Dave Adair

The Alabama born and New York based sisters accompanying band help them to produce a playful and eclectic set with an electro kick, coupled with a splash of the psychedelic. The swooning ode of ‘Go To Heaven’, shows THE PIERCES at their quirky pop producing best, with the winding instrumentals helping to draw out the vocals. Between songs the pair continue their playful tousles, taking the opportunity to exchange bar-room banter with a high-spirited section of the crowd. Homage is paid to Manchester in the style of a morose set closer, reminiscent of The Smiths, helping prove that this outfit have more strings to their bow than William Tell.

The excitement of seeing a member of The Strokes in such a compact and sound enhancing venue, means that the reception given to Albert Hammond Jr as he cheerfully strides into view, must have made him think that he is flanked by Casablancas and co and not his own tight knit troupe. Harnessing the surroundings to full effect, he plays the most powerful part of the set and most emotive, with a note perfect vocal performance as the harmony propelled 70s country rock of ‘In Transit’ takes off. This creates a vibrant mood early on and repetitive chants of his name give added momentum to the build up of power pop on ‘Bright Young Thing’, which suits the main man’s plaintive narrative style.

Previous single ‘101’, possesses the qualities of The Strokes via the gritty instrumentals and dingy cries, meaning that you can’t help thinking that the band’s 4th album could recapture the power and pull of old and, this artist’s contribution will, as always, not be a small one.

As the set builds Hammond Jr’s inability to pull off some of the vocal high notes, like those in the slower ‘Holiday’ just creates a few doubts about how far this solo project can actually go? However, a spirited new number shows that the creative well is not quite down to its last cup, yet. After forty five minutes of an at times powerful and at other moments, wistful set, the evening ends in an unceremonious departure. Surely, he will not leave Manchester without playing the potent power ballad of previous single ‘Everyone Gets A Star’, will he? After a minute of expectation the house lights come on to signal the disappointing answer to that question. Still, the aim seems to have been achieved in set and Albert Hammond Jr will be warmly welcomed back all the same, you sense.

Albert Hammond,Jr on MySpace

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