Philip Selway - 'Familial'

by AlanAshtonSmith
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on 19 August 2010 in Albums & EPs
Record Label Bella Union
Rating 8/10

Radiohead fans will find much to enjoy about their drummer's solo album, since in places it sounds quite a lot like some of their recent material.  On tracks like 'By Some Miracle', which opens Familial, and 'The Ties That Bind Us' we find the same meandering guitars and fuzzy qualities that formed the glue that held 'In Rainbows' together.  This is all good stuff, but the stronger material here comes in the form of songs that feel more like Selway's own.  'Patron Saint', for example, is a tender, delicate song that introduces feelings of unease in its chorus, where a lilting melody line spars with creaking sound effects.  'Broken Promises' is perhaps the strongest track, a sparse song carried by the vocals and narrative.  Here the album's themes, of family and the shared love and loss that binds generations together, start to coalesce and it becomes apparent that 'Familial's coherence as a record is one of its strengths.  'Once the hurt is faded only the love will remain', Selway sings here; while the final song, 'The Witching Hour', ends with the refrain 'and those I love will carry me home'.  The combination of lyrics like these and the delicate instrumentation makes 'Familial' a soothing, almost cathartic, record.Radiohead fans will find much to enjoy about their drummer's solo album, since in places it sounds quite a lot like some of their recent material. On tracks like 'By Some Miracle', which opens Familial, and 'The Ties That Bind Us' we find the same meandering guitars and fuzzy...

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