Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Philip Selway, "Familial"

It’s easy for the casual Radiohead listener to get lost in the cult of Thom Yorke. Of course, a band so potent is going to consist of more than just one musical prodigy, and Radiohead is no exception — but a solo record from the drummer of any band is still going elicit more than its fair share of groans and rolling eyes. All of which makes Phil Selway’s achingly graceful solo debut that much more surprising. Granted, opening tracks “By Some Miracle” and “Beyond Reason” both boast a subtle swing and ghostly vocals that will feel familiar to fans of Selway’s day job. But it’s not long before the production flourishes and implied beats give way to good old-fashioned singer-songwriter lamentations, highlighted by Selway's elegant singing style. Tastefully understated contributions from Lisa Germano and members of Selway’s most recent tour-mates Wilco blend right into the melancholy, occasionally heartbreaking collection. Songs like “Falling” even invoke images of classic Simon & Garfunkel. It’s somehow fitting that it turns out to be the drummer who provides the softer side of Radiohead. — Scott T. Sterling

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