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Philip Selway: Familial

B+

Philip Selway

Album: Familial
Label: Nonesuch

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Philip Selway is Radiohead’s drummer, but as individual musical identities go, he’s the group’s George Harrison: interested in music’s quieter, reflective potential. His debut, Familial, is a hushed, fragile collection that explores the territory between Chris Isaak’s softer material and Nick Drake’s folk. Selway is a more-than-competent songwriter. These aren’t 10 attempts at writing his own “Fake Plastic Trees,” but fully realized, heartfelt arrangements that feel as though they’ve been slowly taking shape for the more than 20 years that Radiohead has existed. (Selway has done sporadic solo projects off and on during the past two decades.) He’s also a fine singer, strong and clear even in his most intimate moments. The result is a few truly beautiful, affecting tracks, including the sublimely enchanting “Don’t Look Down” and “A Simple Life,” an effectively eerie track with delicate, tense percussion. Even though this style of music has been done, and done well, by many others since the late ’80s, the familiarity of Selway’s debut makes it that much more agreeable.