BC Camplight announces “Deportation Blues”
BC Camplight returns this summer with Deportation Blues, his second album for Bella Union, available 24th August via the label. Camplight has shared the title track of the LP, , along with an album trailer + an extensive UK tour for the Autumn has also been announced…
“You shouldn’t have a tough time finding the angle to Deportation Blues,” claims Brian ‘BC Camplight’ Christinzio. “The past few years have been a f*cking nightmare.”
But what a f*cking great record he’s made off the back of his nightmare… Deportation Blues is an exhilarating, dynamic document of calamity and stress, relayed through richly melodic and bold arrangements spanning singer-songwriter classicism, gnarly synth-pop, ‘50s rock’n’roll and various junctures between, mirroring their maverick creator’s jarred emotions and fractured mindset.
Back in early 2015, after years battling addiction and mental illness, and having relocated from the US to Manchester, BC Camplight released the album How To Die In The North to rave reviews and the future was looking bright. So imagine his mood when he immediately fell foul of UK immigration: “I’d had such high hopes for the album, and I was told I was being deported two days after it came out, and banned from the UK. The next thing I know, I’m playing Pac Man in my parents’ basement in New Jersey, thinking, this is my life now.”
Occasional gigs in Europe, where his Manchester-based band could meet him, broke up the monotony, but it was still like “living in a constant panic attack.”
But then the cavalry arrived! Courtesy of his grandparents, Christinzio secured Italian citizenship. It cost time, money and a portion of his sanity, “but after a year and a half I could finally shove my Italian papers in their faces at the airport and return to sunny Manchester. The thing is, despite being American, I feel Mancunian, and I couldn’t think about making another record, until I got back.”
To add insult to injury, “Brexit happened, like a day after I got back. Can I get a f*cking break here, please?”
Once the dust had settled, Christinzio realised, “I didn’t feel any better, I had so much anger, I felt destroyed. The demons were back and had lost me friends, I’d drunk too much, and I felt nothing but dread and disease. I thought, I can’t wait to hear what this next album is going to sound like.”
Recording in Liverpool’s Whitewood studios, Christinzio locked himself in the windowless studio and recorded almost exclusively in the dark. “The thoughts and sounds that began to flow out of me were pretty scary. I’m pretty sure the engineer started carrying a shiv in his pocket after about the second day. Nothing playful sounding came out. If the last album had elements of whimsy, the thought of any on this album made me want to vomit.”
Christinzio recorded the album most days on his own when not accompanied by haunting vocalist Ali Bell, plus drummer Adam Dawson, occasional guitar by Robbie Rush, and a couple of session horn players. Future single ‘I’m Desperate’ is “an ominous synth burner,” says Christinzio, with a Suicide-style throb and a haunting female vocal counterpoint that underlines the album’s manic, careering edge, fantastic hooks and instrumental verve.
The album’s title-track opener is similarly uncompromising. Bookended by metallic power chords, cascading synths and a gorgeous downbeat mood lead into slower doo-wop complete with howling falsetto. “It’s instantly a different, darker record than How To Die In The North,” Christinzio notes.
Deportation Blues is also noticeably more electronic than its predecessor. “I was feeling cold so every time something sounded pretty, I replaced it with something that sounded like an ice pick. The apocalyptic nuclear feel really appealed.”
Though Christinzio points out “this is no redemption I-saw-the-light story,” he is allowing himself a little bit of hope for once: “I’ve never been as pleased with where I am artistically as I am right now.”