philipselway

Not many musicians manage to launch a solo career in their early 40s, but it’s fair to say that Philip Selway had a hint of artistic form. Despite forming one fifth of the most envelope-pushing band of the last 30 years, however, ‘Familial’s elegant acoustic ballads came more as a pleasant surprise than an exploration of any untilled ground.

Selway returns here, however, clutching several sacks of extra ambition, so that while that first album felt like a separate project altogether, ‘Weatherhouse’ – constructed with collaborators Quinta and Adem Ilhan in the Oxford studio he and his bandmates usually call home – feels as sonically pioneering as the music he makes with Messrs Yorke, Greenwood and O’Brien.

It lives in the same dark corner as Radiohead’s most haunting work, and though ‘Let It Go’ and ‘It Will End In Tears’ soar with Technicolor, lighter-in-the-air choruses, where it really succeeds is in its many bleaker, more unnerving moments. They place it closer to trip hop than folk so that lead single ‘Coming Up For Air’ throbs with Bjork’s ‘Post’-era angst, while ‘Miles Away’ has the strident menace of late-90s Massive Attack. Where ‘Familial’ grasped for harmony, melody, and structure, ‘Weatherhouse’ relishes foreboding and discord. It’s all the more satisfying for it.

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