"When you're the same age as the Prime Minister, you think, I'd better get on with this," Philip Selway grins as he acknowledges the new sea change in British politics but popularity is generally a passing phase while your first album-that's forever. Knowing time waits for no one, he has delivered Familial, a collection of sublimely fragile, haunting, and heartfelt songs that will surprise many, and not only because drummers traditionally don't do this kind of thing. Familial is so persuasively good, it sounds like Selway has always been a singer-songwriter.
It's a sideline solo project, mind. The morning he talks about his record for the very first time, he still has to leave for a rehearsal down the road by an acclaimed Oxford-based band, named Radiohead, for whom Selway has drummed immaculately and imaginatively for the last 20 years. And with the admission, "It's a cardinal sin for drummers to come in to rehearsals with the comment ‘I've got this song'!" he knows the time has come for his songs, put on ice when drumming took over in his late teens, to emerge into the light.
Listeners to Familial will immediately recognize the ring of absolute truth, melodies and words fired by emotions, and not a whiff of dilettante posturing. In truth, what truly ignited Selway's efforts to record wasn't Britain's political transformation but the loss of his mother in 2006. "It was one of those watershed moments that shake everything up, and you get a greater sense of urgency on what you want to do in life," he says.