Paul Allen And The Underthinkers: Everywhere At Once

Mircrosoft founder makes guest-star-studded debut.

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His fortune may have been made forging a new frontier in the digital world but Allen’s musical tastes stay avowedly traditional. With proceeds benefiting the EMP Hendrix museum he set up in his native Seattle, the computer magnate’s power, influence and connections come clear on this debut – he gets to flex his axeman skills in stellar company.

Heart sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, Ivan Neville and Chrissie Hynde take the vocal leads, Los Lobos/Dylan associate David Hidalgo is a constant presence throughout, as is co producer and Allen’s songwriting accomplice Doyle Bramhall. The result is a solid and respectable run-through of genres – country ballad, grinding blues rockers, soul vamps.

While the epic Pictures Of A Dream builds forcefully through its seven minutes, the derivative but all-original songs leave the memory centre untroubled. The predictable impression of a rich man’s plaything cast with superior company remains.