Charly Bliss Album Reviews

Siblings Eva and Sam Hendricks grew up in Westport, Connecticut. Eva Hendricks dabbled in musical theatre and sang jingles for commercials. In 2011 Eva Hendricks, vocalist and guitarist, recorded an EP with guitarist Spencer Fox. The duo were joined by Eva’s brother Sam on drums, and eventually bass player Dan Shure.

The quartet play guitar pop, inspired by 1990s acts like Weezer and Veruca Salt. Their excellent hooks, coupled with Eva Hendricks’ offbeat lyrics and distinctive, helium-tinged voice, allow them to transcend their influences. Along with The Beths, they’re one of the most interesting bands currently working in guitar pop, although the excitable vocals of Hendricks are the polar opposite of Elizabeth Stokes’ deadpan persona.

Charly Bliss Album Reviews

Guppy | Young Enough | Supermoon (EP)



2017, 9.5/10
Original guitar pop is a difficult task in the 21st century, and Charly Bliss’s debut album is heavily in debt to the 1990s. Debut album Guppy combines the fast-paced, hook-filled songs of early Weezer, but with a female vocalist they’re also reminiscent of other 1990s acts like Belly or Veruca Salt. If it all sounds unoriginal, these songs are so memorable and jammed with hooks that it’s immaterial. Guitarist Spencer Fox stated “We had to create an ecosystem where our loud, messy rock sounds could co-exist with these super catchy melodies and pop hooks.” The band label themselves as “Bubblegrunge”, which is also an excellent descriptor of their sound.

Vocalist and guitarist Eva Hendricks has a tinge of helium in her distinctive voice, but it simply allows the band’s supple melodies to shine.  It was really about realizing what we’re best at as a band.” Hendricks is both witty and sincere on songs like ‘Glitter’ – “Am I the best? Or just the first person to say yes?” Charly Bliss get plenty of mileage out of a four piece setup, and their chord structures are interesting enough to stand up to repeated listening, although synth on some tracks helps to vary the textures. It’s difficult to pick favourites off such an even, excellent album, but highlights include the punchy ‘Black Hole’ and the memorable comparisons of a dead dog to a lover in ‘DQ’.

Despite its clear debt to the 1990s, Guppy is a great little record, a burst of energy and good-natured humour.

Young Enough

2019, 8/10
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.


2019, 7.5/10
A few months after Young Enough, Charly Bliss released a surprise EP of outtakes. These five songs are reminiscent of the band’s debut, eschewing the synths and studio candy of the more recent album for a straightforward four-piece sound. The highlight is the closer ‘Threat’, which combines the punchy sound of the debut with lyrical themes that belong to Young Enough; “You say you love me and it sounds like a threat/I’d rather be dead than have it be true.” The rawer sounding ‘Slingshot’ recalls The Breeders, while the title track utilises the euphoric lift in Hendricks’ high-pitched vocals.

EPs are rarely as satisfying as albums but Supermoon is an sizeable component of an excellent catalogue, and worth checking out.

Back to 2010s Album Reviews….

Leave a Reply

More from Aphoristic Album Reviews

Aphoristic Album Reviews is almost entirely written by one person.

Graham Fyfe is probably the only music blogger to appreciate both Neil Diamond and Ariana Grande. Based in Fleet Street (New Zealand), he's been writing this blog since around 2000. Aphoristic Album Reviews features reviews and blog posts across a growing spectrum of popular music.

Review Pages

Read about the discographies of musical acts from the 1960s to the present day. Browse this site's review archives or enjoy these random selections:

Fleetwood Mac 1975 Album
Fleetwood Mac Album Reviews

Fleetwood Mac formed as a blues band in 1967, when Peter Green recruited Mick Fleetwood and John McVie as his rhythm section. The band went through a large turnover of guitarists and vocalists, including Green, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan, and Bob Welch, as they transitioned from a blues band to […]
Angel Olsen Album Reviews

Singer-songwriter Angel Olsen hails from St. Louis Missouri, where she was raised by a foster family. Because of the age difference between herself and her foster family, she often wondered about their childhood. Her interest in the 1950s has trickled through into her music – her full and commanding voice […]
Prefab Sprout Album Reviews

Formed around the songwriting talents of Durham’s Paddy McAloon, Prefab Sprout enjoyed some commercial success in the 1980s and early 1990s, but have been relegated to the status of cult band ever since. It’s a shame, as McAloon is a very talented songwriter; he’s able to integrate complex chord structures […]
2020s Album Reviews

Less than two years into the new decade, it’s already been eventful. A global pandemic and #blacklivesmatter protests have already created ten years’ worth of chaos. Because the decade’s only just started, it will take a while to populate this page.
Vampire Weekend Album Reviews

Ezra Koenig and drummer Chris Tomson started playing together in a rap collaboration named “L’Homme Run” while attending Columbia University. The pair were interested in punk and African music and named their band after a short film Koenig attempted to make about a vampire invasion of Cape Cod. Koenig and […]
Radiohead OK Computer
1990s Album Reviews

Because I was a teenager through the 1990s, my relationship with the decade’s music is a little different; I’d probably appreciate bands like Oasis and Nirvana more if I wasn’t saturated with them. I also think that mainstream rock largely ran out of steam, and the most interesting music is on […]

Blog Posts

I add new blog posts to this website every week. Browse the archives or enjoy these random selections:

Lana Del Rey: Albums Ranked from Worst to Best

Elizabeth Woolridge Grant made an immediate impact on popular culture with her 2011 debut single ‘Video Games’, released under her stage name Lana Del Rey. Her haunting lower register and cinematic feel, chronicling a one-sided relationship. the single immediately established her as an artist with a unique voice. Her moody […]
10 Best Marshall Crenshaw Songs

Detroit’s Marshall Crenshaw started playing the guitar at age ten. At high school he started the band Astigfa – an acronym for “a splendid time is guaranteed for all”, a lyric from The Beatles’ /Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite’. Crenshaw went on to play John Lennon in the […]
10 Best Moody Blues Songs

Birmingham band The Moody Blues have one of the most misleading names in popular music. It fit to start with – their early repertoire was based on American blues, and their cover of Bessie Banks’ ‘Go Now’ topped the UK charts in early 1965. They played on the Ed Sullivan […]
U2: Five Best Albums

U2 started the 1980s as a post-punk band influenced by Joy Division and Television. As the decade progressed they beefed up their sound, working with notable producers like Steve Lillywhite and Brian Eno, and became one of the highest selling and critically acclaimed rock bands of their generation U2 has […]
New Order Albums: Ranked from Worst to Best

When Ian Curtis committed suicide on the eve of an American tour, it marked the end of Joy Division. Guitarist Bernard Sumner, bassist Peter Hook, and drummer Stephen Morris continued making music together as New Order. Sumner took over lead vocals and Morris’ girlfriend Gillian Gilbert joined on keyboards and […]
10 Best Emmylou Harris Songs

Emmylou Harris was discovered by ex-Byrd Chris Hillman in a folk club. Hillman recommended her to country maverick Gram Parsons. Parsons featured Harris’ harmony vocals on songs like ‘Love Hurts’, and mentored her in country music. When Parsons passed away in 1973, Harris continued his legacy of “cosmic American music”, […]
%d bloggers like this: