Philip Selway — Weatherhouse
Birth name: Philip James Selway
Born: 23 May 1967
Origin: Abingdon–on–Thames, Berkshire, England
Location: Oxford, UK
Album release: 6 October 2014
Record Label: Bella Union
01. Coming Up for Air 3:39
02. Around Again 3:23
03. Let It Go 3:13
04. Miles Away 4:37
05. Ghosts 3:12
06. It Will End in Tears 3:15
07. Don’t Go Now 2:55
08. Drawn to the Light 4:26
09. Waiting for a Sign 4:17
10. Turning It Inside Out 4:11
℗ 2014 Hostess K.K.
♠ Personnel adapted from Weatherhouse liner notes.
♠ Phil Selway — vocals, guitar, drums, percussion, drum machine
♠ Adem Ilhan — guitar, bass guitar, drum machine, marimba, programming, vocals, engineering, production
♠ Quinta — clavichord, fender rhodes, marimba, mellotron, musical saw, hammond organ, percussion, piano, viola, violin, vocals, production
The Elysian Quartet
♠ Jennymay Logan — violin
♠ Emma Smith — violin
♠ Vince Sipprell — viola
♠ Laura Moody — cello
♠ Ted Dewan — artwork, sleeve design
♠ Graeme Stewart — engineering
♠ Marta Salogni — engineering
♠ David Wrench — mixing
♠ Mandy Parnell — mastering
By Michael Robertson | 07 October 2014 | Score: 6/10
×Δ× It's not everyday that you hear of a seminal drummer writing his own solo material, but Philip Selway has managed do that, plus dabble in charity affairs and still work inventively for Radiohead. His alternate projects (both musical and philanthropic) may have been what kept him sane since Radiohead's rapid rise to stardom with their 1997 release OK Computer. Over the years he's performed with fellow Oxford natives, Dive Dive, as well as toured as a part of the 7 Worlds Collide project — the extensive collaboration led by Crowded House resident Neil Finn that aimed to record an album for charity in three weeks. Through just these facts alone it should be safe to say that Selway isn't short of motivation or inspiration for upcoming projects.
×Δ× His first album saw him collaborating with artists from Wilco, as well as 7 Worlds Collide — all coming to a head and producing an array of low–key acoustic tracks that warmed rather than scolded you. He bares many similarities to co–worker Thom Yorke, with the difference being that Selway appears to see light in an otherwise darkened room. His vocal delivery is soft and melodic, and his arrangements are genuine — but there's a subtle weirdness thrown in there, similar to the drummer–turned–songwriter Goyte. Both share their most intimate connection with the head and heart, but turn things slightly askew when compared to overly played pop–chart tracks. Weatherhouse, his follow–up, acts as quite the step up for Selway. Sonically, softer percussions and acoustic melodies are swapped for heavier, sweeping drums with piano or guitar driven ballads. There's even a strings section thrown in to the mix.
×Δ× Opener 'Coming Up For Air' illustrates that sonic change. Reverb drenched vocals wrap themselves around layered electric guitars, all the while allowing for punchy beats to drive the song forward. Selway's temperament still seems grounded, although now he has more to play around with compositionally. The first half of the album is actually quite reminiscent of Radiohead's work post 2000 — seeing a shift to electronic experimentation mixed with soft hymns filled with sense. But if Thom Yorke is the devil's advocate sitting on your shoulder, Selway is there to breathe new life into those internal conflicts. 'Let It Go' is a woozy take on an '80s pop–rock ballad, only things are slowed down and artists intention of 'getting rid of bad memories' is complemented by 'Pyramid Song' inspired piano. He sets himself a larger workspace in Weatherhouse by which to deliver his hymn–like message, not too dissimilar Yorke's method.
×Δ× 'It Will End In Tears' showcases Selway's knack for subtle melodic hooks and textured vocals. He talks of leaving something or somebody, to which explaining "don't be bitter now / we could spend a lifetime in a Weatherhouse" — presumably more a philosophical concept for watching time pass than the German folk art device. Sounding semi–ballad in nature, it shows off Selway's powerful drumming techniques and interest in using string arrangements to render his work multi–dimensional.
'Turning It Inside Out' is the kooky folk ender, filling its space with disillusions about modern human functioning and a desire for something meaningful. This displacement seems to be a common thread that runs through the album, but only occasionally does it hit the mark in delivering something that connects in the heart of this listener. Selway surpasses many professional singers in terms of songwriting capability and delivery. 'Ghosts' is a catchy acoustic arrangement with a darker veil draped around it — which is just one example of many. As far as Selway's delivery goes, perhaps it is more suited to a stripped back setting — guitar, minimal drums and a broad, emotional voice. Weatherhouse houses its own experiences but could just be listened to as a sub-experience of Radiohead. It shares many of experimental shifts using beat and synths to explore mood, only without the hooks and utterly unique melodies that nobody but Radiohead can produce. ×Δ× http://www.thefourohfive.com/
Review by Music New Desk
×Δ× Four years after the unexpected and exquisite treat that was Philip Selway’s debut album Familial, the man formerly known only as the drummer of Radiohead returns with his sophomore record, Weatherhouse. At ten tracks and 38 minutes, the album is as concise in shape as it is expansive in mood and assured in execution, mining a generally darker, fuller sound than its gentler, more acoustic–based predecessor and reflecting the band–centred nature of its construction and its creator’s growth in confidence.
×Δ× Weatherhouse was made in collaboration with Adem Ilhan and Quinta; artists in their own right who had previously performed in Philip’s backing band. “From the outset,” Selway recalls, “we wanted the album to be the three of us, and we covered a lot of instruments between us. With a studio full of inspiring gear and a great–sounding desk, we felt like a band. Different musicians stretch you, and I felt stretched on Weatherhouse, but very enjoyably so.” Working mostly out of Radiohead’s studio in Oxfordshire, Adem also produced and engineered Weatherhouse, while Quinta played an equally integral role in the arrangements. The album was mixed by David Wrench.
×Δ× Album opener ‘Coming Up For Air’ sets the scene with its brooding, spectral mood, mantra–like pattern and Selway’s simmering, reverb-drenched vocal exploring the album’s dominant theme. “It’s very much about taking stock of my life. I wanted to convey a sense of release and affirmation,” he says. “This was the first song that we recorded. Immediately it felt in a very different space from Familial.”
×Δ× The album’s talismanic qualities explore a world of hope and plans, connection and disconnection — between family, friends and self — and dreams and fears: “I love records that you can almost live in, where the songs become talismans that you take to heart. That’s what I was trying to create in Weatherhouse.” With its emotional frankness, haunting melodies and gripping tension, Selway has made a great artistic leap and created something that even the most experienced singer-songwriters would be proud of.
Notes: This weekend (June 24, 2014), Philip, Adem and Quinta begin a run of shows with Rambert Dance Company at their Southbank home. They perform a specially commissioned score for a series of Merce Cunningham 'Events', set against the backdrop of Gerhard Richter's "Cage" paintings.
by Lauren James | 26 Sep 2014 | Score: 4/5
×Δ× Familial (2010)
×Δ× Running Blind EP (2011)
×Δ× Weatherhouse (2014)