Charly Bliss


Charly Bliss appear to be in permanent disbelief at the success of their band. As I wrote when I saw them play The Eagle Inn in 2017, they bounded around the stage as much in shock at the reality of the moment as through the joy of performing their music. Fast forward two years and to the release of their second album, Young Enough, and amazingly nothing has changed.

That is, nothing about their attitude has changed. When they play ‘Black Hole’ at the midpoint of the set, frontwoman Eva Hendricks is literally taken aback at the singalong from the Night People crowd. As in, she is thrown backwards on stage by it, wrongfooted by a head-on wave of enthusiasm. This is a measure of the love of Guppy, their twinkling, bristling pop-punk debut album, and Charly Bliss still can’t believe it.

Any time a cut from Guppy is played tonight, a similar reaction is felt, ‘Percolator’ and ‘Westermarck’ especially, two astounding, spunky, sherbetty singles to match anything from Hinds, The Big Moon or anybody else in contention for the best young-and-loving-it band of the 2010s. This is what has brought a crowd out tonight.

It isn’t, though, what has brought Charly Bliss to the UK this week. What’s done that is the release of the new album, a release that to be precise happens about 60 minutes after the band leave the stage tonight. Playing a set which majors on new and unreleased material is notoriously tricky at the best of times, but the drop off in excitement between old and new tonight is just too dramatic to ignore.

Even the tracks that have been previewed ahead of the album’s release – opener ‘Hard to Believe’ and closer ‘Chatroom’ – see muted reactions, despite Hendricks’ exaggerated stage acrobatics on the latter. It is hard not to believe that the shift in sound from their original spiky, DIY punk-pop to a more silvery, polished pop sheen has played a major part in the dip in enthusiasm. For many, the mayhem was what made Charly Bliss fun, but the new tracks are more keyboard-driven, more controlled and more static. The band’s pop influences appear to be starting to eclipse their punk ones.

They arrive back for an encore that includes a curious cover of ‘Mr. Brightside’, surely one of the most overplayed and underneeded songs of the century. Exactly what they hoped to bring to the table with it is unclear – perhaps the song is just not as ubiquitous Stateside, but at this stage all it really conjures is memories of Red Bull-soaked indie dancefloors.

They reel us back in for the final track of the night ‘Love Me’, a song dating back to 2014 that is a cult favourite amongst their fanbase. It is one last reminder of the original surge of joy that this band can offer; whether Young Enough is to be a blip or the new normal for Charly Bliss is still unclear but it is beginning to look like songs like ‘Love Me’ will be a thing of the past. I guess we all have to grow up eventually.

Charly Bliss: Official | Facebook | Twitter

Max Pilley

I'm a refugee in Manchester, having successfully escaped Birmingham in 2007. I'm a soon-to-be journalism student, used to edit the music section of the Manchester Uni paper, and have done a little radio production to boot. I've been adding bits and pieces to Silent Radio since 2012, mostly gig reviews, but a few albums too. Also hoping now to get involved with the brilliant radio show. When doing none of that, you can usually find me at some gig venue somewhere around town.