Demo Universe

Rob Christensen's third home-studio recording (At The End Of The Day, a live recording from 1998, completes the discography to date) finds our hero in the mood for some classic pop-rock, a la Kinks, Beatles and Beach Boys (or so he claims in his remarks on the album). Markedly less raw, melancholy and vulnerable than its predecessors (the Brian Wilson-esque "Someday Soon" is startlingly upbeat), Smile Slightly (1994) and The Truth Hurts (1997), Opera Alley nevertheless maintains Christensen's high standards. If Smile Slightly was Christensen's Blonde On Blonde, Opera Alley is his Planet Waves: an honest, heartfelt record by a superb songwriter with a straightforward appeal that will grow on you with every listen.

Portland Online MusicNet

This is Rob Christensen's latest release (that makes 3 studio albums) is a striking contrast to his previous effort, The Truth Hurts. Definitely more dynamic and electric music accompanies the decidedly-more-personable vocals of Christensen makes this cd noticably more vibrant and rock-tinged. Rob is basically a one man band who plays all instruments, produces and records at his home and does it WELL. Practice makes perfect with this record. From the opening self-titled track Opera Alley is clearly more dynamic with more prominent piano breaks, electric guitar tastefully accentuates each track, and even some synth/organ parts. “Somebody To Adore” seems very R.E.M.- influenced, yet retains Christensens original touches. Songs like “Star Route Nine” illustrate that he has retained some of the sultry melancholia apparent in his previous recordings, yet are brightly up-to-date. “Janie Sims” is a puppy love situation - "kid has crush on girl who don't know who he is" kind of tune that sorta reminds me of a Monkees 3rd or 4th album tune. This CD is a remarkable advance over his previous album, it will be interesting to hear what may be coming out next from this fine artist.

Reviews By Ray

Opera Alley is the brand new CD release from Rob Christensen, and it is his most mature and fully realised album to date. A 100% improvement over his last studio effort, The Truth Hurts, Christensen has improved in leaps and bounds. The ten songs on this collection are the best he's ever written, and the arrangements are amazing. The opening title track features a really cool piano lick that recalls prime mid-60s pop (I'm thinking The Cyrkle, for some reason). While his past releases have had a distinct laid-back country vibe to them, this album goes into more uptempo territory. Sure, the back-road country sound is still there--it is, after all, Christensen's signature sound--but here he explores new textures on stand-out tracks like "Hollywood's Dreams" (my current fave), and "Janie Sims". And I really like that great drum loop on "Where The Red Roses Fall"! "Someday Soon" is the perfect song to end the album on. A great McCartney-esque vibe saturates this tune, from the bouncing tack piano arrangement to the great harmonies. My only complaint is that sometimes the percussion gets buried a little in the mix, but that's small potatoes in this tasty pop stew (Ouch! BAD pun! Besides, I'd be the pot calling the kettle black. Just listen to my abhorrent live drum recording on my own Correct Me If I'm Wrong cassette). The hooks are memorable, the choruses are catchy, the songs are great, and the sentiments are 100% authentic. Good goin', Rob! 

AUTOreverse

Exceedingly jangly homepop informed by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Kinks, maybe Soul Asylum or The Replacements. Slanky guitar chordage over drum machine grooves and pokey-jabby bass lines. The vocals are way out front, often double-tracked. "Star Route Nine" is a relatively purdy acoustic ballad, followed by "Janie Sims", an uptempo pop songs with a very Dylanic vocal. "Solo" is a rockin' pop quickie with harmonized vocal bits. "Sunny Day" coulda been a Paul Westerberg track. "Someday Soon" rounds out the disc with a 2-chord swing.