BC Camplight – How To Die In The North

Album Review by Simon Jay Catling | 06 Jan 2015
  • BC Camplight – How to Die in the North
Album title: How To Die In The North
Artist: BC Camplight
Label: Bella Union
Release date: 19 Jan

It’s too lazy to call How To Die In The North a catharsis for BC Camplight. True, a descent from critical acclaim to alcoholism, drug use and homelessness in Philadelphia did lead to a Leaving Las Vegas-style move to Manchester, to prove his ability and destroy himself in the process; but the New Jersey-born songwriter’s third record feels more like a starting point than a purge.

Themes of loss (Atom Bomb), relationship failure (Grim Cinema) and distrust of love (most of the album) are sent on beguiling journeys that pull in everything from neo-psychedelia, on opener You Should Have Gone To School, to string-laden surf pop on Thieves In Antigua and Nilsson-esque balladry on Why Doesn’t Anybody Fall In Love? It suggests a man’s mind running riot with possibilities rather than pain, as horn sections, shimmering Beach Boys-style backing harmonies and electronically mutated loops are flung at the canvas, held together by crisp, unforgettable melodies. Dying never sounded more alive. [Simon Jay Catling]

Playing Manchester's Gorilla on 23 Jan; Glasgow's Old Fruitmarket (supporting Calexico as part of Celtic Connections) on 1 Feb and Liverpool's Leaf on 11 Mar. http://soundcloud.com/bc-camplight