“4 Alan, The Universal Answer Is Both: You don't listen to The Universal Answer Is Both so much as you give yourself over to it, collapsing into the gorgeously rendered splashes of sound. Alan's mastermind, Christopher Hardee, has, with this experimental-rock effort, crafted a transporting, almost cinematic work of art that slips under your skin and stays there.”
"Several months ago, not long after releasing The Universal Answer is Both, the grand five-years-in-the-making debut album by his Fort Worth art-rock band Alan, singer-songwriter Chris Hardee promised to release another album on the significant-to-numerologists date of November 11 (11/11/11). Well, as Hardee semi-sheepishly admitted in October, an entire album might have been something of a pipe dream. However, with the new backing band of guitarist/engineer Adam Skokan-Guinn, drummer Andy Weaver, and bassist Toby Ferril, Hardee managed to release on that most portentous of dates a song, the hyper-melodic “Jane Dover,” maybe one of Alan’s most accessible songs to date and, consequently, one of the best songs of the year".
“The music is merely the undercarriage for the musings of some shaman in a parallel universe. Hardee and Alan’s full-length debut is a grand canvas of sonic ideas and probing philosophy. The Universal Answer is Both possesses the uncanny ability to pry the listener away from the mundane and everyday, hijacking the listener on a hypnotic journey full of sun-flecked fields, shadow-soaked alleys, and other unexpected side-trips.”
“Alan, The Universal Answer Is Both: The brainchild of Fort Worth's Chris Hardee, Both's 16 tracks and hour-plus heft suggest excess, but the focus here is on density, deftly blended with melodies and vocal performances that etch themselves onto your brain -- days after first hearing the art-rock anthem Atlas, I cannot shake its thrilling, cinematic mood. Hardee has crafted a record of incredible feeling, coupled with a limitless sense of ambition. It is one of the finest achievements of 2011.”
“The Universal Answer Is Both is definitely the work of an artist with a vision. None of the songs is predictable. Some middle sections may meander, bleed into other songs, or, as with the track “237” (numerology again), divert from the path entirely. The song begins with a skipping beat, snaking bassline, and twinkling guitar figure over which Hardee sings plaintively. A huge, crunchy riff, punchy and percussive, suddenly materializes, underlining the drama (not melodrama, see?). The middle, however, dissolves into a quiet reverie in which Hardee participates in an ethereal call and response with guest vocalist Cerena Collins. The rest of the song marries the daydream with a mad, frenzied version of the main riff.... (more on the link below)”