BC Camplight releases his third and final album in the 'Manchester Trilogy' and says this one is "An examination of madness and loss". Brian Christinzio, the linchpin and creative force behind BCC, himself quite open and honest about his continuing struggles with mental illness, says, "I hope it starts a long overdue conversation". The new nine-track album follows on from Christinzio's 2018's 'Deportation Blues' and is billed as the "finest" of the three loosely linked albums that started with 2015's 'How To Die In The North'.
Brian's talents are many; he's a multi-instrumentalist, a great performer, creatively fertile and a very accomplished singer-songwriter. Where he makes all of this work on a whole other level, however, is in his ability to craft a song from sometimes seemingly disparate streams and meld them into something unique and wonderful, something hard to imagine and something wholly individual. On his latest album, 'Shortly After Take Off', he has once again tapped into this genius and produced some wonderfully weird and wonky songs.
The new album is insightful, intelligent and at times blackly comic. Its reference points are many and varied, drawing on popular culture and touchstones of society. Christinzio goes from singing about John McClane and Die Hard to Rachel Riley, Ray Liotta, Tame Impala, Nando's, Irn Bru, Oldham chippes and even The Arndale Centre. The way in which Brian drops these things into his lyrics is similar (and I mean this as equally complimentary to both artists) in some respects to Lana Del Rey. Each reference is immediately identifiable, whether as a character, a person or a place and so it instantly complements and adds to the songs' imagery.
Continue reading: BC Camplight - Shortly After Take Off Album Review
BC Camplight is the sardonic, slightly bruised alter ego of Brian Christinzio, a former New Jerseyian now relocated in Manchester, via stints playing with Stateside indie cause celebres Sharon Van Etten and The War On Drugs. Whilst the latter's hazy take on blue collar rock continues to find a fuzzy glow in even the stoniest critic's heart, BC arrived in the North of England after finding that his life had imitated that of John Grant's art: haunted by an adolescence spent with bouts of depression and hypochondria, Grant's win against dependency is something from which he draws inspiration.
'How To Die In The North' is a title then to be viewed with a large Mancunian dollop of perspective, given that it deliberately belies a love for the city which continues to embrace occasional boho troubadours like Nancy Elizabeth. This duplicity is, however, very fitting if used as a stylistic barometer for its songs, as Christinzio throughout takes a particularly familiar sound and applies a sub-layer of darkness that nestles just beneath, much like the rest of the shark under the fin.
What this means is that we get some obvious touch points - opener 'You Should Have Gone To School' reprises the imperious pop-psychedelia of The Shins in their 'Wincing The Night Away' period - but the lyrical self deprecation of Grant is absent. What there is a match for though, is in an ability to subvert the form: the MOR schmaltz and cheesy harmonies of 'Just Because I Love You' sounds like Air in far too much taffeta, but the subject seems to be only distantly related to relationships, with the singer dolefully saying "I'm so lonely and broken" and that all this effort for "Such an ugly girl". And we thought romance was dead.
Continue reading: BC Camplight - How To Die In The North Album Review