Alternative | Indie Rock
My discovery of BC Camplight came from a different kind of source than what you’d expect; I actually discovered a teaser track for BC Camplight’s fifth album Shortly After Takeoff when featuring it on a new music article for an independent song chart that I do a bit of writing for.
This track was titled “I Only Drink When I’m Drunk”, and in my aforementioned article, I describe the song as “gloomy and surreal” and indeed that still stands today (especially the gloomy aspect, which I will go into detail about further in this review).
Given that I was writing about this track on behalf of another article, with a deadline to be met, my exploration of this track was spread quite thin. nevertheless, it didn’t take much effort for this track to at least be memorable.
So when I discovered that hypnotic swirling rocket smoke on the album cover once again on Spotify’s new releases, I was more than willing to explore the album in more depth, and give it a proper shot.
With this in mind, it should go without saying that I hadn’t listened to Brian Christinzio’s (a.k.a BC Camplight’s) discography prior to this new release. Furthermore, I was going into this project without a proper knowledge of Brian’s personality, which he seemingly pours into his music.
At least that is definitely the case with this album, and is done so in a tight conceptual circle which makes the album feel like some kind of musical midlife crisis, with themes of alcoholism, grief, mental health issues, and loss of ambition, to name a few.
With what I’ve written thus far about the album, you may be thinking that this already sounds like a depressing and unenjoyable experience to listen to. However, BC Camplight injects enough artistry, and adds a few ironically upbeat melodies here and there to make it a very gripping experience at least. It’s most certainly the kind of album that takes a multitude of very difficult subjects to write songs about, and executes track after track to really pull the user into the project.
In many cases while listening to Shortly After Takeoff, I felt myself completely immersed in BC Camplight’s gloomy life. I rarely pay as much attention towards the songs lyrics and the narrative of the album as I effortlessly did with this one. I think what helps this is just how genuinely Brian Christinzio open up to us. In no way at all does his words feel exaggerated of characterised. It’s almost like the listener has been forced into a short-term position of being Brian’s therapist, and just listening to him spill all of his thought and fears into our headphones. I definitely came away from the album feeling like he had made this album for some form of therapeutic purpose, which only elevates the sacred nature of this album further.
To place on-top of the brilliant conceptual layer of Shortly After Takeoff, I must also mention some of the utterly gorgeous and deep sounds that can be found on here. I found this to especially be the case in tracks 5 through to 7. But to go against that, we also have the upbeat sounds I touched upon earlier, that being for “Cemetery Lifestyle” and “Born To Cruise”. The hint of goofiness in these kinds of tracks, along with the lyrics, each seem to highlight points of carelessness and self-destruction in the albums narrative.
I also have to give small mention to the beautiful “Arm Around Your Sadness”, which does a good job of adding another layer to sum up the album quite well, and to highlight how embracing sadness can allow you to appreciate the smaller things in life.
In conclusion, Shortly After Takeoff is a powerful and incredibly immersive experience. It is definitely an album that left me thoughtful by the end of it, and will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on me until the decisive end of the year.
Favourite Tracks: I Only Drink When I’m Drunk | I Want To Be In The Mafia | Shortly After Takeoff | Arm Around Your Sadness
Least Favourite Track: Angelo