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B.C. CAMPLIGHT – Blink of a Nihilist (CD, One Little Indian)

Posted: April 5th, 2007, by Simon Minter

Brian Christianzio, aka B.C. Camplight, makes quirky and perky pop tunes with a rich array of instrumentation and orchestration. Like Grandaddy, recent Flaming Lips and the just-mentioned-on-these-pages Dr. Dog, this is easier on guitars than us indie kids might be comfortable with; it’s full of plinking piano, plonking trumpet and all kinds of other things thrown into the mix.

It’s more show-tunes than tortured soul music: for the majority of Blink of a Nihilist, lyrics of love and confusion are swamped in a heady brew of arrangement and relentlessly melodic and tuneful experimentation. At times it gets too much; the odd second or two of trumpet or strings dropped into tracks like ‘Soy Tonto!’ and ‘The Hip and the Homeless’ seems forced, whilst the waltz or bossanova rhythms employed by tracks like ‘Werewolf Waltz’ suggest a half-hearted stab at Beck’s Tropicalia-infused Mutations.

For all its (admittedly minor) faults, this is constantly interesting and diverting listening. Near the end of the album, on ‘I’ve Got A Bad Cold’, Christianzio/Camplight suddenly reigns in the weirdness and offers Brian-Wilson-all-over multi-part harmonies; seemingly his own teenage symphony to God, and at last a chance for emotion to come to the surface. It’s this track that makes me think there’s more to this guy than what could seem to be shallow exercises in form over function. For that, I have listened again to the album with renewed belief and interest in an out-there, but definitely real songwriter.

B.C. Camplight
One Little Indian

Simon Minter

Simon joined diskant after falling on his head from a great height. A diskant legend in his own lifetime Simon has risen up the ranks through a mixture of foolhardiness and wit. When not breaking musical barriers with top pop combo Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element or releasing records in preposterously exciting packaging he relaxes by looking like Steve Albini.


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