“How to Die in the North” BC Camplight
New Jersey native, Brian Christinzo, now living in the UK, records as BC Camplight. That name is an ideal description for this album. It’s campy. It’s got an appealing lightness. It’s certainly dramatic. And it borders on being just a little weird. Perfect for KZSU. A more conventional description might be “theatrical psyche-pop.” Christinzo makes and then breaks the rules — fusing 1960s and 1970s sensibilities into catchy melodies overlaid at times with synth-driven effects and flourishes. You’ll be reminded of everyone from Todd Rundgren (“Something/Anything”) to Nilsson. And from Queen to Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys at their surfing best. All with a dramatic flare and a confident artistry that clearly shines through.
Recommended: 1, 2, 3, 9, 4, 5. No FCCs detected (but hard to hear)
1. (4:30) You Should’ve Gone to School – Melodic throwback to surf-psyche classics. Starts with Zombies-like bass line and handclaps. Layers in electronic shooting star effects. Real Brian Wilson feeling to the lead vocals and shimmering backing harmonies. ****
2. (3:09) Love Isn’t Anybody’s Fault – Up-tempo, bright and bell-like psyche-pop. Wood block keeps time. Whispered lead vocals. Weird jarring bursts of percussion and clashing guitars at points, including at end. ****
3. (5:14) Just Because I Love You – Luxurious, floating, blue-eyed soul with angelic chorus. A few funky touches along the way. Song construction definitely right out of the 1970s. ***
4. (3:56) Grim Cinema – Starts with noises, then fingerpicked acoustic guitar and soft vocals. Shifts up after 30 seconds to fuzzy, quirky, underground garage rock with Beach Boys lead vocals and muttered choruses. **
5. (5:32) Good Morning Headache – Theatrical ballad after very slow fade in. Big piano and big reverb — weird tempo and music changes. Queen? **
6. (4:07) Thieves in Antigua — Sentimental surf-pop. A cross between the Four Seasons and Beach Boys. Great brass in part of lead break. Then, a slow section with organ and drum.
7. (4:47) Atom Bomb – Slow-tempo stroll with piano and the backing of boozy bar band. Music swells from time to time.
8. (5:53) Lay Me on the Floor – Starts with filtered voice and stinger effect. Bongos are then played off against synth attacks, which are reminiscent of Seinfeld. Weird falsetto and space effects. Very strange!
9. (3:35) Why Doesn’t Anybody Fall in Love Anymore – Nilsson-like closer. Delicate piano and soaring vocals on a grand scale. Just the right amount of sentimentalism and theatrics. Great! ***