Album cover of 'Shortly After Takeoff' by BC Camplight

Like his label mate John Grant, Brian Christinzio has a gift for lush harmonies and droll lyrics about personal chaos. The correspondence between the two US expatriates isn’t accidental. Christinzio, who records as BC Camplight, decided to approach the label Bella Union after hearing Grant’s debut album on a jukebox in a Manchester pub.

Christinzio moved to Manchester after falling prey to drink and drugs in Philadelphia. Shortly After Takeoff is the third in a trilogy of albums inspired by his adopted home city. Lows and highs are mixed together in its ingeniously scored songs.

In “Ghosthunting”, Christinzio sings about flying to the US for a funeral (his father died before the making of the album). As the aeroplane takes off, he recalls previous bouts of bad behaviour, at which moment a quaking passage of bass-heavy orchestration enters the previously serene music like a shudder of remorse. Another take-off occurs during the album’s title track when Christinzio returns to Manchester and takes medicine to calm his fear of flying. The spacey sounds of a theremin proceed to waver out as the trippy effects of the pills kick in.

His vocals have the singsong flow of Brian Wilson; in a further echo of the Beach Boy, the theme of mental illness runs through the music. “I’m gonna crash,” Christinzio sings during “Born to Cruise”, but his album does nothing of the sort. Wit, melody and musicianship keep it airborne.

★★★★☆

Shortly After Takeoff’ is released by Bella Union

Get alerts on Albums when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2020. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window)

Follow the topics in this article