There’s a jukebox somewhere in Philadelphia that contains every great pop song written in the last seventy-five years, and Brian Christinzio, the twenty-something tunesmith behind B.C. Camplight, is standing in front of it with a roll of quarters. Each track on his debut LP, Hide, Run Away, is a homage to somebody’s favorite songwriter — “Emily’s Dead to Me” updates Gershwin with strings and a church organ, the title track’s winding phrases and horn arrangements recall Burt Bacharach (or at least his latter-day acolyte Ben Folds), and I’ll be damned if the chorus of “Blood and Peanut Butter,” sweetly sung by Philly songstress Cynthia G. Mason, wasn’t written by Rivers Cuomo himself.
Elsewhere, Christinzio pulls off an airy samba number a la Belle and Sebastian (“Couldn’t You Tell”) and even does a credible Of Montreal impression with “Parapaleejo’s” impressively gnarled harmonic shifts. Occasionally a poor production choice drowns Chritinzio’s gentle melodies in retro-kitsch, and any album that relies so heavily on imitation is bound to lead you back to the superior originals. But Christinzio’s a terrific imitator, and his voice is sweet enough to sell every last hook, whether or not you’ve heard it a thousand times before.