Release Date: Oct 7, 2014
Record label: Bella Union
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Traditionally, a weather house might be used to forecast incoming weather, a loose prediction of sorts based on the humidity of the atmosphere. Predictability isn’t something that’s ever sat well with Radiohead, and it’s no surprise therefore that the second offering from Philip Selway’s solo project is a venture of untested creativity, creating an atmosphere entirely of its own. Written in collaboration with Adem Ilhan and Quinta, previously members of Selway’s backing band, the influence of other musicians on this record is evident throughout.
This, the second solo album from Radiohead drummer Phil Selway, sounds more like an echo of his main band’s output than 2010’s ‘Familial’ did. With more ambition and further forays into experimental electronics than its understated, largely acoustic predecessor, the expansive nature of Radiohead’s influence grips harder. It usually works – the strings on ‘Around Again’ seem plucked from ‘Pyramid Song’ and spread over a ‘Knives Out’ drum-scuttle, yet the melody is distinctive enough to feel worthy of the comparisons, and ‘Around Again’ has a fuzzy red wine-drunk mellowness redolent of ‘Amnesiac’.
Listening to Weatherhouse, the second solo album from Radiohead drummer Philip Selway, and it's hard not to imagine that it exists in an alternate universe, one bereft of the electronica that rewired the English band's circuitry in the late '90s. Synthesizers are by no means absent on Weatherhouse -- an electronic pulse is among the first sounds heard on the album -- but they are not prominent. They, like so much else on this handsome record, function as a colorful thread in an intricately woven tapestry.
Radiohead drummer Philip Selway's first solo outing, 2010's Familial, contained none of the ruthless musical invention and exploration that had been paying his bills for the previous two decades. Which made it easy to read the quietly folksy record as a failure: to spend so long continually reinventing the rock idiom only to strike out on your own with a disc of gently strummed singer/songwriter fare is inevitably going to disappoint someone, somewhere. But then I suppose even the most intrepid explorer needn't spend his downtime in the arctic.
Are you excited, internet? It’s time to be excited! Excited like a Simpsons fan who’s just been told that Conan O’Brien is back on board! Last week Thom Yorke tantalised us, telling us that Radiohead were two days into recording a new album and now it turns out that as soon as 6 October we will actually have brand spanking new music from Radiohead... ‘s drummer! OK yeah I’m being cynical, but you can forgive me that. First, as a fully paid-up member of the murky world of journalism, it’s my job to be sat here with a glass of wine and packet of fags (it’s almost 11am), raging against the world and seeing the worst in everything.
It would seem that you can’t keep Radiohead out of the news for long. Singer Thom Yorke has recently surprised everyone with the release of new album Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes and, with guitarist Jonny Greenwood and drummer Philip Selway both suggesting the Oxford five-piece are imminently about to start work on what will be their ninth studio album, fans are on tenterhooks once more. In the meantime, the band members have been keeping themselves busy popping up here, there and New York City for example, where a recent photograph of an animated Nick Cave bumping into Greenwood – in the Big Apple for a run of shows performing the score he wrote for There Will Be Blood – has gone viral.
Philip Selway’s emergence as a singer-songwriter was unexpected. His longtime position as the drummer for Radiohead didn’t necessarily create an unlikelihood for him to step out. Rather, it was his persona as a polite and quiet member of an already spotlight-averse group that made 2010’s Familial an unforeseen endeavor. Grant Gee’s Meeting People is Easy (1998), to date the most overt document of Radiohead’s grievances involving fame, features hardly a word from Selway.
On his second solo album, Radiohead drummer Philip Selway expands on the intimate folk of his 2010 debut, Familial – fronting a responsive trio and often recalling his main band in its moments of soft, elegiac drift. ''Coming Up for Air'' follows electronic throb into darkly rippling guitar poetry, and ''Waiting for a Sign'' is a lovely slow-build glitch symphony. The lyrical tone is often foreboding, but Selway's vaporous tenor, which suggests a less paranoid Thom Yorke, is reassuring.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. It's not everyday that you hear of a seminal drummer writing his own solo material, but Philip Selway has managed do that, plus dabble in charity affairs and still work inventively for Radiohead. His alternate projects (both musical and philanthropic) may have been what kept him sane since Radiohead's rapid rise to stardom with their 1997 release OK Computer.
Something icy has touched Philip Selway. An opaque current of melancholy ran through his first solo effort, 2010’s Familial, but the almost too-precious folk melodies hung just out of the reach of darkness. On Weatherhouse, Selway’s sophomore record, he replaces his lightly strummed acoustic guitar and delicate harmonies with reverberating bass and vocals pitch-shifted into a darker register.