Philip Selway goes solo without switching off the Radiohead

Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 05:00


Let me Go

Philip Selway

Bella Union


When is a solo album not a solo album? Perhaps when it’s a film soundtrack that is reluctant to untether itself from what makes the artist so characteristic in the first place.

Either way, Radiohead drummer Philip Selway has made an album – his third solo work, after 2010’s Familial and 2014’s Weatherhouse – that has three distinct sensibilities. One is acoustic-based songs that feature hat-tipping touches to Nick Drake, Bert Jansch and John Martyn (Wide Open, the title track, Days and Nights). Another is a featured vocalist (Lamb’s Lou Rhodes) infusing Walk with lithe, warm textures.

The representative core of Let me Go, however, is Selway’s prudently composed themes that reference the film’s narrative of the memoirs of Helga Schneider, whose mother was a prison guard in Auschwitz.

Inevitably, justifiably, sombre tones lay shroud-like across all of the instrumental pieces. Helga’s Theme can barely withstand the weight of such foreboding, while elegiac tracks such as Snakecharmer, Don’t Go Now and Zakopane simmer with the addition of string arrangements by cellist Laura Moody.

Uneasy? Exquisite? Adventurous? You can take the man out of Radiohead, it seems, but not vice versa.