So, what to make of Yours to Keep? I mean it's cheerful, it's poppy and winsome and should be the property of Europe's girlhood; I mean, it's alright but it's just not my thing squire…"
Albert Hammond Jr. - Yours to Keep
A quick word about the artwork of this CD, if I may. My girlfriend described it as impossibly cute. There are beavers and there are rabbits in a woodland setting. There are ducks flying over a lake, all drawn in a cartoon style reminiscent of Hannah Barbera. I suppose this isn't surprising seeing the opening track is called Cartoon Music for Superheroes. As if further confirmation of the upbeat nature of the package is needed, the music underpins the visual "statement" a with a Beach Boys-style lullaby. What the heck, its fun. In Transit is more of a rocky affair, possessing a heart-wrenching chorus, wrapped in honeyed organ tones and jangly guitar. Add the high pitched vocal lines and it's fairly apparent that this is designed to shoot little cupid's arrows at winsome females.
There's more laudable sentiment on show with Everyone Gets a Star, a heavy drum beat gives the song's Richman-isms a hint of purpose. Bright Young Thing sounds just like the title, frankly, thick syrupy dollops of sentiment accompanied by a tremolo laden guitar. Honestly, love songs eh? The moment near the end when the band breaks into the riff from Jonathan Richman's Morning of Our Lives is cute though. Blue Skies is my favourite thus far, a stripped back rocker with a great ending and far more punch than previous tracks suggested.
Its elegiac guitar time again, 101 is a standard rocker about girlz. It does boast a great Who-style riff amidships though. Then we have the strange dichotomy of twee banjos introducing a song called Call an Ambulance. Hmm. Maybe it's being ironic. Scared starts with a needle sample and builds a beat on the sampled scratch. Yet again the song reveals itself to be firmly of the genre emotive pop, very yearning in its sentiment and naggingly familiar melodically... Now I can't imagine Albert Hammond Jr. writing a maudlin song entitled Holiday. And lo! It isn't. It's jangly and yearning and full of promise that all those bummer months are behind you as you trip languidly down to the ocean's edge and spy the most beautiful girl, like, eva. The Sweet Jane riff appearing out of nowhere is quite funny though. Ah! Now I understand about the cover artwork, you see, there's a song entitled Hard to Live in the City. It's okay I suppose and is something that has been done a thousand times before.
So, what to make of Yours to Keep? I mean it's cheerful, it's poppy and winsome and should be the property of Europe's girlhood, I mean, it's alright but it's just not my thing squire...
Words: Richard Foster