The biggest talking point about this album will clearly be that it stems from the idea of Albert searching for an identity through the loss of his stillborn twin brother in utero. Let this not feed into any reading of the piece though, as he strikes thick with melody to cover any looming depth.
The hurried moments of “Far Away Truths”, to the cinematic visions of “Muted Beatings” all across Francis Trouble Hammond searches for an identity and ultimately, finds one. The energy is frantic, with a youthful exuberance that refuses to listen to anyone until it’s found.
There are, of course, tinges of Strokes flavours which are impossible to ignore. “Set to Attack” could quite easily have been a cut from mid-career Strokes album, but it’s important to not get bogged down in these comparisons, because then Francis Trouble loses its context entirely.
Vocal-wise, Albert flits between wild and untamed, to concise and direct with supreme ease, a testament to his ability to be front and centre while wielding everything he’s got. The real draw of the album though comes from the melodies the guitars construct perfectly.
Changing effortlessly between furious, and just straight up swinging (see: “Stop and Go”), Francis Trouble leaves no space for dwelling as each moment will pick you up where the last left off. “ScreaMER” could quite easily be a garage cut from the ‘60s with its rampaging riff and “woo hoo” backing vocals, while the slowest of the bunch “Rocky's Late Night” goes for a more atmospheric edge just to shake things up a bit.
It’s hard to find fault with an album that feels so consistently representative of the mind that bore it. Francis Trouble is certainly Hammond finding a version of himself that’s pushing toward the future while never losing sight of who he really is.