tue 04/08/2020

Album: BC Camplight - Shortly After Takeoff | reviews, news & interviews

Album: BC Camplight - Shortly After Takeoff

Album: BC Camplight - Shortly After Takeoff

Brian Christinzio’s no-holds-barred account of his emotional and mental turmoil

BC Camplight's 'Shortly After Takeoff': difficult to get through

The out-of-control missile on the cover is emblematic. The actual takeoff in question is the flight Brian Christinzio was forced to board in 2015 following his deportation from the UK. What came next is the album title's "shortly after": an enforced return to the US from his adopted hometown, Manchester, was followed by the sudden death of his father, and the concomitant resurfacing of issues with drugs and mental health. Some light came when, through his lineage, Christinzio aka BC Camplight was subsequently able to get an Italian passport and return to Europe.

The worst of times, though, were explored on his last album, 2018’s Deportation Blues. Shortly After Takeoff digs further into the effects of the events of 2015 and later. Each album is part one and two of the same exploration of depression, fragmentation and mental illness.

Shortly After Takeoff pivots on its second track, “Ghosthunting”. Initially, it seems to be a live, edgily Lenny Bruce-esque comedic recitation. “For the whole first half of this record, I thought I had a really bad disease,” says former War On Drugs associate Christinzio. “It turns out I’m just mentally ill.” A pre-recorded audience howls in laughter at what turns out to be a soliloquy on encountering a manifestation of his deceased father.

Aside from this spoken word segment, Christinzio's familiar musical touchstones are present: Randy Newman, Sister Lovers-era Big Star, Eighties synth-pop and classic, Spectorian late Fifties and early Sixties pop. He has a gift for creating memorable melodies. As ever, all these styles can crop up in a single shape-shifting song. Abrupt musical left turns are part of his make-up, but Shortly After Takeoff is difficult to get through as it's such an uncomfortable listen. Perhaps intentionally. Reactions to this unmediated look into Christinzio’s psyche are going to be governed by how much over-sharing it is possible to take.

A pre-recorded audience howls in laughter at Christinzio encountering a manifestation of his deceased father

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article

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