Brian Christinzio, the New Jersey born singer songwriter, has never been one for hiding his personal demons. Indeed, his last album, the breakout hit Deportation Blues, centred around just that, his struggle to stay in the UK after a lengthy battle with bureaucracy.
This follow -up focuses on mental health issues and insecurity in a manner that occasionally feels reminiscent of The King Of Comedy‘s central protagonist, Rupert Pupkin. Ghosthunting starts like the most self- eviscerating stand-up comedy routine ever uttered out loud, complete with laugh tracks, the darker his material gets. It dissolves into a beautiful falsetto ballad which then fragments into cinematic glowering synths, with his cousin asking, “Are you making the people dance?… ‘Sure’ I say, but to myself I ask, ‘What does he think I am, Tame Impala?!'” he deadpans.
If this sounds self-indulgent, it’s not, with the sense that Christinzio is fully aware of his uncomfortable public persona, and with enough humour to undercut it at every turn. Yet there is nothing quite as jarring as the last album, in spite of occasional sonic left turns.
I Want To Be In The Mafia is reminiscent of 70s songwriters, like Harry Nilsson on a health kick, and the chiming pop of Cemetery Lifestyle and the gorgeous Arms Around Your Sadness suggest a love of Brian Wilson as much as wonky pop.
Introspection suits BC Camplight, and much of …Takeoff lands beautifully, but the tension from before is noticeable in its absence. Only the Badalamenti-with-vocoders pop noir of I Only Drink When I’m Drunk surprises here. It misses the snarls of discontent. We’re all, to paraphrase a title from Deportation Blues, in a weird place now. Let’s hear something that reflects that.