The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

REVIEW: BC Camplight – ‘Shortly After Takeoff’ (Bella Union)


In a sentence:

Completing BC Camplight’s so-called ‘Manchester Trilogy’, Brian Christinzio delivers a concise and vibrant indie-rock masterclass in ‘Shortly After Takeoff’.

Originally from Philadelphia, Brian Christinzio’s English-based outfit BC Camplight has released the third and final album in a series of works that Christinzio has dubbed his “Manchester Trilogy” – consisting of 2015’s How To Die In The North, 2018 breakout album Deportation Blues, and completed by this latest release, Shortly After Takeoff.

It’sa concise and consistently excellent collection of psychedelic-pop fantasy, both grounded and ethereal throughout. The album focuses on themes of “madness and loss”, according to Christinzio, and the music portrays a beautifully haunting yet candid representation of mental illness. The sound of BC Camplight is an amalgamation of a variety of influences, and one can hear hints of modern psychedelic bands, like Tame Impala, as well as the ballad-like song structures of rock giants like Queen, perhaps due in some part to the fantastic piano parts on tracks like ‘Arm Around Your Sadness’.

Music video for ‘Cemetery Lifestyle’

Christinzio has an ear for bizarre yet undeniably satisfying hooks, particularly evident on recent single release ‘Cemetry Lifestyle’. The varied instrumentation used to formulate the riff is very stimulating, as the melody is passed from modulated brassy synth to distorted guitar tones. In places, Christinzio’s vocal delivery sounds similar to Kevin Parker, and Lou Reed in others; listen to ‘I Want To Be In The Mafia’ to hear this change within the first two minutes. The expression of feelings towards topics that are evidently very close to Christinzio’s heart is handled with a casual yet sincere approach, resulting in music that is both atmospheric and touching.

Music video for ‘I Only Drink When I Drunk’

A melting pot of genre influences, Shortly After Takeoff is a great listen, and with only nine tracks on the album, each with a different tone and attitude, it’s an economical and diverse piece of work. With this album marking the end of an era and a body of work, it will be interesting to see in which direction Christinzio takes BC Camplight next. (8/10) (Jacob Kendrew)

Listen to Shortly After Takeoff by BC Camplight here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!

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