BC Camplight – Shortly After Takeoff

Shortly After Takeoff is BC Camplight’s most reflective and most emotionally engaging album to date

Album Review by Eugenie Johnson | 17 Apr 2020
  • BC Camplight – Shortly After Takeoff
Album title: Shortly After Takeoff
Artist: BC Camplight
Label: Bella Union
Release date: 24 Apr

At the beginning of Ghosthunting, the second track on BC Camplight’s latest album, Brian Christinzio gives a short stand-up routine. 'For the whole first half of this record I thought I had a really bad disease,' he says. 'Turns out I’m just mentally ill.' It may well be fabricated, but it’s still a piercing moment that puts the spotlight on the central theme of Shortly After Takeoff, a meditation on loss and mental health.

Throughout the record, Christinzio continues his genre-bending approach, wrapping his words in amalgamations of styles that seem to mirror the unpredictable nature of mental illness. It’s a record where the sound can change on a dime; Back To Work juxtaposes a robotic hook with more acoustic verses, while Ghosthunting hinges almost entirely on sparse instrumentation and Christinzio’s floating vocals before morphing into an orchestral beast.

Yet, these musical twists and turns can occasionally detract from Christinzio’s lyrics, which veer between gallows humour and vulnerability. When the latter half of the album gives his words more room to breathe, their impact becomes even greater. When only accompanied by piano and fleeting synths, the oddly tender and domestic details of Arm Around Your Sadness are illuminated. Nevertheless, Shortly After Takeoff is still BC Camplight’s most reflective and most emotionally engaging album to date.

Listen to: Arm Around Your Sadness