Here's a round-up of critic reviews for "Everywhere at Once," a new rock album from Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen and his band, The Underthinkers. We noted back in May that this was being released.
Blair Hanley Frank of Geekwire.com is feeling it...
"Everywhere" is true to its name. Its 13 tracks are a mix of gospel, blues, rock, R&B and funk, but they come together to form a coherent whole, without feeling out of place. The guitar-driven compositions speak to Allen's well-documented love of Jimi Hendrix, without seeming like an obnoxious love letter.
While Allen holds a songwriting credit for all the songs on the album, his guitar work only appears on five of "Everywhere"‘s 13 tracks. That's not a knock against his guitar playing chops, though. His solos easily hold their own against similar performances by others on the album.
Neil Kelly of PopMatters.com also approves...
1. Does the material, performance, and production stand on its own?
2. Is the finished product worthy of major-label attention?
The answer to both are a resounding yes, thanks to the assistance from a bevy of rock's ambassadors, and one hell of a production team in Doyle Bramhall II and Justin Stanley. This is a quality release of blues-rock that's enjoyable from start to finish, and the songwriting from Allen and his collaborators are paired well with their guest performers. "Healing Hands", "Pictures of a Dream", "Divine", and "Straw Into Gold" are just some of the highlights. The album as a whole is just a big, wonderful surprise. Start to finish.
Daniel Person of SeattleWeekly.com was note quite as polite...
Paul Allen's major-label debut is Microsoft Windows put to music, scavenging everything that's come before it to create something that's functional but has as much soul as Bill Gates' nose hair. Beyond the saccharine revue of every musical genre that's ever hitched a ride to Tennessee, Allen's lyrics are hopelessly cliché-ridden, reaching a low point on the I-sold-my-soul-to-play-guitar ballad "Six Strings From Hell." I will give the country-tinged "Rodeo" credit for capturing a middle-age melancholy from our aging local billionaire that seems heartfelt. Having the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde helps, as she croons, "This ain't your first rodeo/And it ain't gonna be your last." Wonder if she was talking about Allen's albums? Hope not.
Everywhere at Once, Allen's first studio album with his band The Underthinkers, is the kind of easy, country-rock that a dad who grew up loving the Eagles could probably get behind. Allen wrote or co-wrote all 13 songs, and plays guitar on every track, alongside collaborators like Chrissie Hyde of the Pretenders, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, and Joe Walsh of the Eagles. You can hear the Walsh collaboration, Six Strings from Hell, at Rolling Stone.
R.J. Cubarrubia of Rolling Stone writes up Allen's album.
Paul Allen is more than a tech head. The Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist also rocks out with his band the Underthinkers, and the group is almost ready with their debut album, Everywhere at Once. Allen teamed up with artists like Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Derek Trucks, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders and more for his new record, and on "Six Strings From Hell," Allen digs into mean guitar riffs with Joe Walsh of the Eagles. Allen curls some twang and grit into the blues-rock track while Walsh's weathered vocals relate the immense power of an electric guitar.
Allen discussed the album with John Kessler of KPLU.org...
"It's amazing to be in the studio with somebody of that caliber, listening to their musicianship, their singing and their playing. And think of how many times you've heard their songs-but they're singing one of your songs," Allen said.
Allen has been playing guitar since he was a kid growing up in Seattle's Wedgwood neighborhood. He says he rarely went a week without picking up the guitar, even during his busiest days at Microsoft.
"Typically, after a hard day of programming at Microsoft or after Microsoft, I would go home and put on a record and then try to play along with it," Allen said. "Early days, that would have been Buddy Guy, or B.B. King or Jimi Hendrix, who I was fortunate to be able to see when a couple of times in Seattle when I was a teenager."
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter