Album Review: Charly Bliss - Young Enough

Photo: Ebru Yildiz

Words by Daniel Rourke

Charly Bliss' debut album 'Guppy' was met with high praise from various corners of the alternative music scene, elevating them from the band best-known for having the voice of Dash Parr from The Incredibles on guitar to a true contender within the power-pop world.

Two years on from the release of their debut, Charly Bliss are back with their sophomore release, 'Young Enough.' Said to be a "newly explored realm" for the band, the album leans more towards the Brooklyn quartets pop sensibilities, and while it may not officially be classed as a concept album, there are several overarching themes throughout the record, such as an abusive relationship and the struggles of self-doubt.

Though synth-backed opener Blown To Bits lays the foundations for what's to come, it's lead single Capacity that truly informs the listener of what to expect throughout the record. The track is an unapologetic romp focused on front-woman Eva Hendricks killing her inner people-pleaser, as she clambers to be herself: "I'm at capacity, I'm spilling out of me // desecrated and complacent."

While lyrically Charly Bliss are still somewhat bleak, the songs built around those lyrics have become more pop-centric than ever before. Where once you'd find a chugging guitar or a Weezer-like chord-progression, a synth-heavy backdrop now stands in its place, and it works remarkably well.

Single Chatroom is perhaps the best example of this, described as the quartets most direct pop song to date, the track sees Hendricks tackling the subject of sexual assault: "I was fazed by the spotlight, his word against mine // everybody knows you're the second coming." Despite being so blatant and remorseless in its message, the track still manages to be both fun and somewhat radio-friendly, and it's in these moments that we see the true capability of the four-piece.

Though the more pop-centric side of the band takes a prominent role on 'Young Enough', glimpses of the Charly Bliss of old can be found on Under You and Camera, with the latter providing some of the finest storytelling on the record. In fact, the album as a whole feels like a natural progression for the band, never losing sight of what they once were, and instead building upon it and taking it to the next level.

Overall, 'Young Enough' is Charly Bliss' most complete body of work to date. Not only is Eva Hendricks' lyricism brutally honest and soul-bearing, but musically the band are utterly infectious. From the synth-led tracks to the overall musicianship of the rhythm section, every track comes together emphatically, creating one of the best alt-pop records of the year so far, and the perfect follow-up to their debut.