Brian Christinzio is a troubled soul. That much is crystal clear from his previous releases under the pseudonym, BC Camplight.
Following 2015’s “How To Die In The North” and 2018’s “Deportation Blues”, this is the third, and apparently final, chapter in what the native Philadelphian calls his “Manchester Trilogy” In it, he continues to chart his life in and out of the ditch.
This album does not document anything approaching a recovery but merely reaffirms his battles with mental illness and addiction. It is, he says “an examination of madness and loss”, adding, “It’s important to stress that this isn’t a redemption story.”
Through the black comedy of his songs, he reframes his dark turns of mind and misfortunes into a tragicomic narrative, albeit a non-linear one. In so doing he reveals his vulnerability while turning his experiences into a disarming gallows humour.
This is signalled with tunes with titles like Cemetery Lifestyle and Arm Around Your Sadness. In Ghosthunting he sings of hallucinating about his late father yet starts as a though performing a skit as a stand up comedian.
The opening track I Only Drink When I'm Drunk immediately establishes the semi-serious tone. In I Want To Be In The Mafia, the irony is compounded by the fact that this song sounds like Yo La Tengo on acid.
Live, BC Camplight is a full band but for this record it is 95 percent Christinzio. The other 5% are Adam Dawson (drums) and Francesca Pidgeon (backing vocals, sax, clarinet) and some guests on cello and violin.
With the blend of synth-pop, AOR and funk it's a musical roller coaster ride born of a low attention span which ends ,on Angelo with the drums "like a heartbeat stopping”.
Despite this ominous conclusion the listener will have grasped by then that the story doesn't end here.
BC Camplight's website