Philip Selway Familial

Hidden away at the back playing drums for Radiohead, Philip Selway, apparently, has had to bite his tongue. While his full-time band have been moving in a more experimental direction of late, Selway has been cultivating a collection of very personal, pastoral songs that bear no resemblance to anything Radiohead have done in the past decade. Familial is his solo debut and deals with Selway's domestic life, including the death of his mother. That translates into an earnest album that is, not surprisingly, low on laughs. The mainly acoustic music adds to the sombreness that is, at times, reminiscent of Nick Drake, while asking the likes of Lisa Germano to contribute doesn't do much to alleviate the mood. The real issue with Familial is that every song is a lateral move from its predecessor. It weaves such an effective spell in the first half that the second half needs to offer a peak or two and it doesn't. Everything is beautifully composed, arranged and executed, but it lacks that something intangible that his other band convey so effortlessly. Still, this is an impressive debut with lots of promise, if he ever quits his day job. (Nonesuch)