B.C. Camplight is one of Philadelphia’s most beloved indie artists, and for good reason. Since releasing his 2005 debut, Hide, Run Away, and its 2007 follow-up, Blink of a Nihilist, Brian Christinzio has earned critical aclaim from critics both at home and abroad, receiving rave reviews for his ability to craft effervescent pop songs and the music’s contrast with the lyrics’ often dark or twisted subject matter. His success in Europe has earned him an international audience, and even landed Blink in the London Sunday Times with the prestigious designation of Album of the Week.
Having learned to play the piano when he was only four, Christinzio lived much of life as a seeming contradiction: captaining his high school football team while singing tenor in the traveling choir, briefly pursuing an amateur boxing career while dreaming of making the “perfect pop record.” And after a short bout of mental illness in his early 20s, perhaps it’s no surprise that his songs often take on deeper and tougher subjects than pure pop would normally dare. But it’s these seeming contradictions that make Christinzio’s work so remarkable, distinguishing him from early inspirations and oft-compared-to predecessors like Brian Wilson, Todd Rundgren, and George Gershwin. It’s the tension between the melodic pop and the lyrics’ dark undertones of real life that make us feel his music, and its lack of pretension that makes us feel so endeared to it.
Of course, that’s not to say it’s all dark; much of Christinzio’s songwriting reflects a playful neuroticism and an undeniable sense of humor (albeit a sometimes warped one). His brand of pop is complex and eccentric, and indisputably charming - “pop with soul,” as many have called it. And it’s got soul all right, every last note of it.