Manchester based multi-instrumentalist BC Camplight brings us his fourth instalment with Deportation Blues via Bella Union. From the onset the whole album is a car crash of sound, at times difficult to absorb, taking the listener to places of the unknown, unorthodox, and uncertainty. But that’s what makes this album so fucking good.
Recorded here in Liverpool’s Whitewood Studios, it’s born from a culmination of anger and frustration within his own life events of being deported from adopted home of Manchester back to the US. This just days following the release of previous album How To Die In The North.
A drawn out process ensued whilst back living with parents to finally allow him to return when granted Italian citizenship through Grandparents heritage, albeit to then get smacked in the face with Brexit. This portrayal is embedded throughout the songwriting.
There is absolutely nowhere to pigeonhole the record, collectively it’s a creative explosion of rule breaking, with wrong turns throughout, although the musical discomfort is what makes it work so well given the narrative.
Starting with the album title track, we’re right in with a pounding electronic percussion, combined with cutting synths. Subtle vocals are overlaid but it’s the backing harmonies that hold it all together. There’s a real 1980’s Miami feel to the song, but with punchy overdubs and a commanding base.
Other notable tracks include the truly disturbing Am I Dead Yet?, and Hell or Pennsylvania, which throws the listener deep into a harrowing film noir set. Evocative piano loops are mixed with smokey jazz sections and a 1950’s diner-like chorus just to complicate everything.
Recent release I’m Desperate is the stand out track of the album, an electronic and synth frenzy, coupled with frenetic piano, and free for all vocals is hellish to comprehend, yet beautiful in context.
Only later in the album are we brought back to BC Camplight’s familiar work with Midnight Ease providing an undemanding ballad. Likewise with the final track Until you Kiss Me.
This album certainly pushes the boundaries for BC Camplight, and will open doors that were never even considered beforehand.