Release Date: Aug 31, 2010
Record label: Bella Union
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
In addition to handling the drumming duties for Radiohead’s upcoming eighth studio album, drummer Philip Selway has found time to release his first solo effort. Familial is a soft, sparse, and intensely introspective acoustic record with Selway debuting as a singer-songwriter. Despite Radiohead-reminiscent moments, Selway has established his own identity on Familial, which seems to be very fragile.
Familial was fostered by Neil Finn's 2001 all-star concerts, through which Radiohead drummer Philip Selway established connections with multi-instrumentalist Lisa Germano and bassist Sebastian Steinberg. In 2009, Finn and his cast of dozens recorded an album under the same name as the concerts, 7 Worlds Collide, titled The Sun Came Out. Selway contributed a pair of hushed, folk-tinged songs to the album, both of which demonstrated a natural way with understated yet penetrating songwriting.
I’ll start with the obligatory observation “good lord! A drummer with a solo project? That. Is. Mad.” It’s true that the percussionist in a band is usually the last you’d expect to put out a solo effort, but surprising moves are hardly a new gambit for Radiohead, who can, on account of being essentially the biggest band in world, do as they please.
Review Summary: Instead of acting as a coming out party, Familial solidifies Selway's role as the quiet, reserved perfectionist behind Radiohead.There’s a reason that Philip Selway is often seen as the quiet, focused force behind Radiohead’s esteemed legacy. Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, both in Radiohead’s work and in their solo work, make immense, grandiose statements with every sweep of the compositional pen. If Familial should be Selway’s coming out party, placing him alongside Yorke and Greenwood in importance in the band, then Familial is indeed a failure.
In all-too frequent reminders, fans of Radiohead have had to confront the varied interests of each member outside of the peculiar yet familiar entity. But who does Philip Selway think he is, and why has he convinced himself he’s up to the task of tackling genres and sounds more foreign to his immediate craft? As a member of a band that has been dissected to no end, it’d be easy to neglect Selway’s forays into more traditional pop avenues. But it’d be a shame to ignore his collaborations with Neil Finn through nearly a decade’s worth of 7 Worlds Collide performances and releases.
Phil Selway has put himself on the line with the release of Familial, not least because this first solo effort comes after playing in one of the world's biggest bands for the majority of his life. Living in the shadow of more dominating creative forces must be intimidating and is probably the reason it has taken him this long to strike out on his own. It can't be easy to begin a project knowing it will ultimately be compared to The Eraser or the There Will Be Blood soundtrack, however arbitrary or unfair those comparisons are.
Whatever your opinion on the relative merits of Philip Selway's transmogrification into an acoustic guitar-strumming singer-songwriter, it's tough to find an angle that doesn't at least give the guy points for bravery. Firstly, he's spent 25 years in the ruthlessly self-correcting Radiohead, a band who tend not to go more than three records without ritually wringing themselves inside out and emerging from the studio, eyes bulging and ears ringing, with some newly invented sonic paradigm. Secondly, said band also includes Thom Yorke, whose own noted songwriting abilities and singing voice have by now gifted him with an unreasonably long shadow.
I always felt uncomfortable watching Phil Selway, the drummer for Radiohead, during his band's experiments in electronic music during the mid-00s. Without live drums, he was like a wino without wine. [rssbreak] On his first solo outing, you'd expect him to attack the skins with a vengeance, but he barely touches them. Instead, there are the same subdued drum machine, unusual time signatures and noises as on Kid A.
Unpretentious, delicate tunes from Radiohead’s sticksman. Wyndham Wallace 2010 Guaranteed worldwide coverage because of his day job as Radiohead’s drummer and signed to Bella Union, a UK indie label currently at the top of its game, Phil Selway is in an enviable position. It’s hard not to wonder what his fate might be were he not part of one of the world’s most successful rock bands, however.
Allan Sherman Not long ago it would have been inconceivable that Allan Sherman would ever seem timely or topical again. In the early 1960s, after a failed career as a television producer, he became the pudgy king of Borscht Belt-style song parodies, setting yuks about suburbia and clichés of Jewish life to the tunes of “Streets of Laredo” and “Frère Jacques.” His high point came in 1963, when his song “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh! (A Letter From Camp)” reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, though irrelevance and obscurity soon followed, and Sherman died in 1973.