Philip Selway

Weatherhouse

Bella Union

Oct 07, 2014 Issue #51 - September/October 2014 - alt-J Bookmark and Share


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.

Either way, those disappointed that Familial didn't turn out to be an In Rainbows follow-up might afford Selway some forgiveness with Weatherhouse. On first listen, the record is certainly more a bedfellow to his day job, the odd track even bringing to mind specific Radiohead numbers. "Ghosts" is remarkably reminiscent of "Exit Music (For a Film)," while "Around Again" seems to share a bass-line with "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box." But these (arguably inevitable) affectations are certainly offset by Selway's personal touches. Opener "Coming Up For Air" navigates life's periods of tense claustrophobia to find relief in moments of slackened respite, and "It Will End in Tears"which either sounds a bit like Elbow or "Hey Jude" depending on who you askculminates in a reprise of personal affirmation.

I suppose it's something of an endorsement to say that Weatherhouse's main failure is that "Let It Go" is not a cover of that song from Frozen. It really is a confident collection of varied and sometimes truly interesting songs. But does anything here really threaten to shake the long shadow of Radiohead? Perhaps not. (www.philipselway.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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