sat 04/12/2021

CD: BC Camplight – How to Die in the North | reviews, news & interviews

CD: BC Camplight – How to Die in the North

CD: BC Camplight – How to Die in the North

Philadelphia singer-songwriter is reinvigorated after moving to Manchester

BC Camplight's 'How to Die in the North': anything but a downer

Decamping to Manchester from Philadelphia after a personal crisis seems an unlikely move. But this is what Brian Christinzio – who is BC Camplight – did in 2012. How to Die in the North was recorded in Bredbury, near Stockport.

As cross-continental relocations go, Christinzio’s is improbable but – whatever the the demons he was escaping – it has proved a tonic for his music. The first two BC Camplight albums, 2005’s Run, Hide Away and 2007’s Blink of a Nihilist, were good but not remarkable, piano-borne, singer-songwriter efforts that posited Christinzio as a quirky Ben Folds or Sufjan Stevens. This is something else.

That former members of BC Camplight have gone on to The War on Drugs and that Christinzio last surfaced on a Sharon Van Etten album has no bearing here. How to Die in the North nails its colours from moments after it opens. The clanging, descending guitar of the first cut, “You Should Have Gone to School”, is a direct nod to that of Todd Rundgren’s “International Feel”. Rundgren is a spectre throughout the album – especially on the Philly soul-esque “Just Because I Love you” – but what also comes to mind is the leap MGMT made with their second album Congratulations. Indeed, HTDITN’s hazy, drifting second track “Love Isn’t Anyone’s Fault” could slot into Congratulations like a well-fitting glove. It’s that assured. Lovely too, with Christinzio’s high-register, emotive voice as affecting as that of Papercuts' Jason Quever.

Christinzio’s emotional state comes through on “Good Morning Headache’s” John Grantish opening line “I’m so goddamn mad I could kill the dog”, but the triumphant-sounding How to Die in the North is anything but a downer. On this evidence Christinzio has bloomed rather than perished during his rainy city sojourn.

Overleaf: watch the video for How to Die in the North’s “Just Because I Love you”

Watch the video for How to Die in the North’s “Just Because I Love you”

 

 

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters