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Boomkat Product Review:
Philip Selway's bandmates, Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood (you may have heard of them) have already gone and released solo efforts - wildly differing ones at that. While Yorke reshaped his songcraft through electronica on The Eraser and Jonny Greenwood proved his worth as a composer and film scorer (particularly on the outstanding There Will Be Blood OST), Selway steps out from behind the drum kit to offer up a collection of acoustic songs. Perhaps more conventional and grounded in the traditions of the guitar-wielding troubadour than anything in the Radiohead back catalogue, Familial reveals Selway to be an accomplished writer and musician away from his day job, and he's surrounded by some great musicians for this release too: Wilco's Glen Kotche and Pat Sansone, Soul Coughing's Sebastian Steinberg and Lisa Germano. In many ways, Kotche might be thought of as Selway's American counterpart - an outstandingly inventive drummer in an outstandingly inventive band, offering a more extensive range than most. This would seem to to be a factor in the success of early standout, 'Beyond Reason', which features a particularly resourceful arrangement, carving tactile percussion into warm and woody formations with a little bit of subtle electronic intervention. Throughout the record Selway's vocal is quiet, whispered and heartfelt, surrounding itself with beautiful fingerpicking and the occasional adornment of strings and more low-key textures supplied by his all-star supporting cast. Familial is certainly one of the least experimental of endeavours to emerge from the Radiohead camp, but the emphasis on craft over innovation pays off.