The second time around for Strokes guitarist and all-around rocker Albert Hammond Jr. has bigger sights, and bigger ambitions. The general public had the same ambitions, and we're only meeting Al halfway: the good and the bad mesh on the album to create something enjoyable and very non-esoteric, if not slightly disappointing.
This means accessibility, and even for the snobbiest of critics out there, this is an album of enjoyable ear candy. Easy to digest, if wholly un-inventive and generally stagnant (relatively speaking). Of course, as with all rock, and especially The Strokes and its derivatives, the "on" songs are really great toe-tapping joys, especially debut single "GFC," which is the kind of Hammond vocals and simplistic riff driven rock that we turn to Albert for in the absence of the Strokes power-pop.
However, this is not a perfect escape; Hammond tends to stray into the elongated and sometimes sluggish bore-fest, particularly an instrumental number that feels like I'm editing a house in the Sims more than listening to a rock record. This is the albums main problem: sometimes the candy is boring. If the album moved more like "G Up" and "GFC," and less like "In My Room" (at least at times), with the elements of Reggae and Alternative just a little more well shaken, I'd be singing its praises. Instead I'm taking a few bites and moving on. -joe puglisi