BC Camplight

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AllMusic Review by

Brian Christinzio, the mastermind behind B.C. Camplight, claims musical admiration for George Gershwin, Burt Bacharach, and Todd Rundgren. However, listening to this debut album, the names New Pornographers and Ben Folds come first to mind. Like Folds, Christinzio has chosen piano as his main instrument to express his love of pop music. And like the New Pornographers, Christinzio has a proclivity for twisty melodies. The Philadelphia-based musician, however, isn't as frenetic an arranger as the Pornographers are, and that has its own virtues. Infectious, effervescent songs like "Richard Dawson," "Couldn't You Tell," and "Parapaleejo" boast a bouncing, sunshiny pop sheen but don't get cluttered up in trying to cram an excessive number of pop styles into a single song. Also, like the Pornographers, Christinzio utilizes a female singer (Cynthia A. Mason) as an occasional vocal counterpoint. Mason is particularly effective in "Blood and Peanut Butter," where she shoots down Christinzio's quest for love by replying: "I don't even know your name." The relatively musically sedate "Emily's Dead to Me" reveals the Folds side of Christinzio with its inside out "Since I met you, Emily's dead to me" love song sentiment. Some limitations to Christinzio's one-man band approach materialize during the course of the album. "Wouldn't Mind the Sunshine," which overall is a nice "I'll be there for you" ballad, peters out with a rather mundane piano-based conclusion. These moments of less-than-inspired arrangements -- that also pop up in the too-gossamer "La La La" and the frequently lively but overly long title track -- make B.C. Camplight suffer in comparison to the New Pornographers' more musically diverse sound. Christinzio, however, does reveal more heart than the Pornographers or Folds tend to do. You know that he means it when he speaks of love in the gentle, heartfelt "If You Think I Don't Mean It," a rare guitar-based tune. There's a lot to like on B.C. Camplight's inaugural full-length. It isn't the "perfect pop record" that Christinzio aspired to create, but the disc holds enough moments of musical bliss to bring a smile to a pure pop fan's face.

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