Album Review: Phil Selway – Familial

A review I did a while back of Philip ‘the drummer from Radiohead’ Selway’s lovely debut. 
It’s all part of a general restructuring process…apologies for the inconvenience but don’t worry, full ergo minimal service will be resumed shortly…


So, this is what it sounds like when the drummer of one of the biggest band’s in the world leaves down his sticks and goes it alone. While Thom Yorke’s The Eraser furthered the more eclectic streak of Radiohead’s work, Selway’s endeavour is surprisingly restrained and lands firmly under the title of ‘acoustic singer song-writer’; a penchant which tends to yield nothing more than a stifled yawn these days such is the plethora of guitar-clad troubadours emerging.


With vocals bordering on a whisper and a general air of restraint present, Familial does little to break such pigeon-holing on first impressions. Yet, as the gentle croon and delicate licks fall into place it becomes clear that Selway has crafted a complete record; one to be absorbed in it’s entirety and one which only shows it’s true beauty upon repeated exploration. For a man who spent his years battering pig skin, Selway certainly has a canny ear for melody with the hushed opening ode to depression, By Some Miracle, and the sprightly The Ties That Bind Us holding particular harmonious virtue.

Those expecting In Rainbows Part II need not apply, instead Familial arrives as it’s own entity entirely. This is a record of reflection and poignancy, characterised by a series of wonderfully gentle hooks to usher in and complement the approaching Winter months perfectly. 


Having apparently held off on such solo ambitions due to doubts over how to approach it, Selway should be applauded for choosing a tone which could so easily have been derided as stale and unimaginative, but instead possesses a lingering warmth in it’s sparsity. One suspects however, that the strength of such songs will likely bring him the due plaudits regardless.



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