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New Music Review: Charly Bliss – Young Enough

Brooklyn power-pop band Charly Bliss impressed with their 2017 debut Guppy. Their energetic power-pop was indebted to the 1990s, with parallels to Weezer’s debut and Veruca Salt. But Guppy was a terrific album; the band’s excellent hooks, coupled with Eva Hendricks’ offbeat lyrics and distinctive, helium-tinged voice, allowing them to transcend their influences. Hendricks is joined in the band by her older brother, Sam Hendricks, guitarist Spencer Fox, and bassist Dan Shure.

Charly Bliss photographed in Montréal, Québec, Canada at La Sala Rossa.

Guppy was excellent, but repeating it would have led to a creative dead end – Charly Bliss successfully expand their sound with Young Enough, a more mature and nuanced record. There’s more diversity of moods and tempo, and synthesizers add a poppy sheen. The band wanted to acknowledge that they were fans of pop music, citing Lorde’s Melodrama, Carly Rae Jepsen, The Cars, and Fountains of Wayne as influences.

The title track was inspired by an LCD Soundsystem gig, and the groove based tune is different from anything else in the band’s catalogue. The brief and atmospheric ‘Fighting in the Dark’ is another step in a new direction, while songs like ‘Under You’ reprise the wonderfully constructed power pop from their debut.

Hendricks’ lyrics were notable for their honesty on Guppy – the most memorable line was “I bounced so high, I peed the trampoline” from the song ‘DQ’. On Young Enough, Hendricks takes her candour a step further, confronting an abusive relationship in which she was sexual assaulted. Standout song ‘Chatroom’ features the key line “I was fazed in the spotlight/ his word against mine.”

‘Hurt Me’ is built around an electric piano that could have come from a 1970s Supertramp record. It’s placed after ‘Chatroom’ on Young Enough and the songs are thematically paired. Where ‘Chatroom’ is joyfully defiant, ‘Hurt Me’ is sadly resigned, with an opening line that’s worthy of Paul Westerberg: “Come on, let’s get something wrong/Look into my face too long/Overthrow yourself to me.”

The potential of Young Enough is most fully realised with ‘Capacity’. It merges a poppy sheen with dirty guitars, and it’s topped off with typically unconventional yet potent imagery from Hendricks; “I’m at capacity, I’m spilling out of me,”

Guppy is still my favourite Charly Bliss record, but Young Enough is an excellent second installment in this young band’s almost impeccable discography. It opens up new horizons for the group, their vibrant personality injecting new life into the tired guitar pop genre.

27 thoughts on “New Music Review: Charly Bliss – Young Enough Leave a comment

  1. The second album is always a tough one especially if you liked the first. Glad to see you still liked it even though it didn’t top the first one. I listened to it a little, but it sounds like I should start with the debut.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I listened to the three songs you linked to. It’s definitely pop, but I’m not sure I’d call it Power Pop, which has typically come to mean a guitar-driven Beatles or Byrds sound with “hooks.” This stuff sounds way more, er, contemporary. Then again, labels are nebulous.

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    • The stuff from their first album is much more energetic and guitar-based with more obvious hooks – it probably fits the power-pop label more comfortably:

      But at the same time, it’s definitely 1990s influenced – 1970s power pop had much cleaner sounding guitars, while Charly Bliss come to power-pop via the 1990s.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I saw this yesterday and wanted to check out some other songs before I commented because I liked the lyrics and melodies. I found a couple of songs called Westermarck and Percolator…I like those a lot. What that tells me is that I do like the more guitar driven songs. I think she is unique and I like her voice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those songs are from the first album – sounds like I should have told everyone on the post to go and listen to the Guppy first! Young Enough does a great job of expanding their parameters, but the first album is the most accessible one.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The first one or what I heard of it does sound more power/pop…at least the 90’s version of it. I just hope they don’t fall too much in love with the synthesizer.
        They will expand their audience this way though I would think.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I absolutely adored Guppy but I’m a sucker for that guitar power pop, esp with female lead singers. Agree Young Enough expands their palette of sound to more overtly pop (the synths threw me at first)- from what I’ve heard so far still dig it but still prefer Guppy a bit more as of now.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Was checking out the videos above – Chatroom was kind of creepy actually. Was that supposed to be some kind of Saw type scene at the end, and then they turned it on the guy?

    Liked by 1 person

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