Just the notion that one of the richest people in the world is releasing a major-label debut doesn’t lend itself to unbiased criticism. In fact, I wanted to hate Everywhere at Once before even listening to it, just because of the money thing. I mean, what does a guy with the resources that Paul Allen has need with a major label? After a few deep breaths, and a good listen to the album, I had to ask myself two questions:
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.