ALBUM REVIEW: BC Camplight – Shortly After Takeoff | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Bella Union

Released: 24.04.20

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Christinzio’s records – or the conditions under which he makes them – seem to be marred by tragedy. After recording How To Die In The North, he went through the ordeal of being deported from the UK, colouring subsequent release Deportation Blues. The death of Christinzio’s father is present on Shortly After Takeoff (addressed most explicitly in the tar-black humour of Ghosthunting).

It’s by far BC’s most emotionally generous and vulnerable album, and the most rewarding of his Manchester trilogy. Described by BC as “a hard look at mental illness, loss, and human spirit”, it tackles difficult subjects in excruciating, humourous detail, paying close attention to the minutiae of existence.

Opener I Only Drink When I’m Drunk sounds like the Super Furries at their most ELO-emulatingly ambitious, the MOR tendencies of the previous two record have been honed into some of the best music BC Camplight have ever produced. Back To Work marries Pet Sounds harmonies and sleighbells with thoroughly modern production sensibilities and some of the most humourous observations on the record (on an album of absolute zingers). Indeed, Christinzio’s meditation as how he’d cope in John McClanes’ shoes in Die Hard 2 (which he is getting round to watching for “the 38th time”) is a microcosm for the gentle, thoughtful, irreverence which is the albums true strength; finding profundity in the banal and inconsequential, while finding scraps of light in the darkest moments. It’s a balance which Christinzio executes wonderfully.

 

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