Charly Bliss


The only people in Salford’s hidden pearl The Eagle Inn tonight who are shocked by the high turnout are the band themselves. Several times throughout their brisk, whistle-stop set, the Brooklyn quartet appear charmingly elated by the fact that a hundred or so strangers from such a faraway place know about their little group. The real surprise is that they aren’t playing somewhere bigger.

The setting, despite its modest capacity, is somehow perfect. The tight, cosy intimacy in the room is a perfect vessel for Charly Bliss to share their gaggle of feisty, fizzing tunes. The songs, in the image of the band, sparkle and spring around the room, effervescent and hyperactive, like that little gold thing that Harry Potter is always flying around trying to catch. The tight confines just mean that none of the energy is lost.

On stage, frontwoman Eva Hendricks has a childlike excitement to be singing in a band. She and guitarist Spencer Fox regularly throw tactile rockstar poses, pulling it off without it ever looking cringeworthy, which is no mean feat. The crowd, as receptive and enthusiastic to the band’s eagerness to be here as they are to their music, play their part too, encouraging the back-and-forth and duly bobbing their heads and swinging their shoulders at all the right moments.

The set is inevitably a rattle through their incredibly likeable debut album ‘Guppy’, playing nine of its ten tracks. Opener ‘Percolator’ is perhaps their most addictive and irresistible song to date, an eruption of punk spikiness and pop friskiness. At their best, Charly Bliss write glistening, melody-obsessed ear-catching pop structures, before dousing them in petrol and setting them alight. Scuzzy guitars howl all over them, they are pulverised by a sturdy rhythm section, whilst Hendricks’ vocals are acerbic and provocative. Think of them as a hybrid of Sleater-Kinney and Parquet Courts, with all of the pop and punk contradictions churning together to produce something that Charly Bliss can call their own.

Standout tracks like ‘Westermarck’ (named after the psychology effect whereby people who grow up living together become desensitised to sexual attraction) and ‘Scare U’ set a bracingly high pace for the set, so that when they play a brace of new tracks, they have more than enough momentum to carry the crowd along with them. Just about the only track to slow the room down is ‘Julia’, a song that dials up the band’s dramatic side and gives Hendricks her best chance to show off her voice.

By the time they finish with album track ‘Glitter’ and ‘Love Me’, one of the band’s earliest songs dating back to 2014, the whirlwind is suddenly over, all far too soon. As is so often the case with a band touring the world off the back of their debut album, these are special days for Charly Bliss. If their surprise at Manchester’s turnout is genuine, then surprise must be a nightly event for them at the moment. One hopes this is just the first of many trips to Manchester for them, but it is likely to be their last to The Eagle. At least they were here long enough to create some special memories.

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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.