Alt-rock drummer in sensitive solo album shock
Despite Phil Collins and Dave Grohl - and Ringo's country music record after the Beatles' break-up - no one expects much of solo albums by drummers: Peter Criss' was the worst seller of the Kiss solo releases in 1978. Pussycat whiskers didn't help.
But Radiohead's Selway - one of Neil Finn's
7 Worlds Collide
project - confounds expectation, as his band always has. First there's no tub-thumping, just moody and interesting (and deftly orchestrated) singer-songwriter music with acoustic bassist Sebastian Steinberg, violinist Lisa Germano, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and Glenn Kotche (all Colliders) as well as Don McGlashan and others sympathetic to Selway's Anglofolk-framed songs.
These reach from spare Nick Drake to a more lightly touched and slightly dissonant world-view.
The gorgeous hurt of
goes back to a childhood home when pains have faded, and he touches a universal place for many parents and their children as he seems to address sisters or brothers: "Let's celebrate the lives that you made, go to a place where you'll find peace for the very first time".
This, the engrossing drone of
Don't Look Down
with its off-kilter piano ("It's like we're on high trapeze ... what we see in the cold light can scare us all"), and the tone of thoughtful introspection (despite it all, life's probably okay, maybe) make for an album that really is quite something. You won't miss the drum solo.
-TimeOut / elsewhere.co.nz