Charly Bliss aren’t a band to do things by halves. Having recorded their debut album twice, then waited a year while they found the perfect label to work with, as they release ‘Guppy’ this month Charly Bliss are at last ready to take over the world. Their fighting spirit is never more evident than in the music video for album opener ‘Percolator’, in which the group team up – battle stance at the ready – to combat an unknown evil.
“I think, purely just for convenience, I would say my superpower would be teleportation, because that would be very convenient with touring,” Eva Hendricks resolves, before posing the question to her bandmates. “Spencer [Fox, guitar] is famous for grinding his teeth at night, so he would use his teeth grinding abilities to chew us out of dangerous situations. Sam [Hendricks, drums] would use his sharp shins for some kind of cutting situation. Dan [Shure, bass]’s would be earthquake snores – so kind of like storms, but with snores.” She bursts into a fit of giggles. “Those are great answers.”
Driving around Austin, Texas, as they head to check in for SXSW, the band are in high spirits. They have every reason to be. With an album of the year contender under their collective belt, as they ready to perform the group are entirely in their element. “There’s nothing like touring to make you realise what works and doesn’t work about your songs,” Eva laughs. “We’ll be practising in our rehearsal space, and we’ll be like, ‘We wrote the best song ever!’ Then we’ll play it in front of an audience, and no one moves, and you’re like ‘Oh, shit.’”
Heavily influenced by their time spent playing shows with the likes of Veruca Salt, Sleater-Kinney, Tokyo Police Club, and PUP, ‘Guppy’ is an embodiment of the energy and enjoyment that Charly Bliss use to fuel every live show. “We’ve always felt like our dream for the record was for it to capture the energy and the fun and the enthusiasm of our live set, while also sounding different than our live set,” Eva portrays. “We realised that in addition to being a garage-y rock-y band, at the end of the day we’re a pop band.”
Listing the crucial ingredients of their music as “really catchy melodies” and “really hooky, er, hooks,” Charly Bliss have created a recipe for delight. It’s been a long time in the making, but the outfit are finally ready to share that with the world. “We waited so long between putting out ‘Soft Serve’ and putting this album out,” Eva groans. “We’ve done so much work. It’s been a really, really slow process. I think sometimes that’s made us feel kind of like underdogs in some way.”
Recording the album isn’t the only thing the band did twice. “It’s a funny story,” Eva laughs. “We had a completely different album cover planned for this album. Everything was submitted, we had everything in, we thought it was totally done. At the last second, we got a call saying that apparently the photograph that we were planning to use for the cover was owned by the LA Times and was taken by a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, and we had two days to come up with a new album cover.”
Time wasn’t on their side, and so the group set about recruiting a few finned friends to help them create a new piece of artwork. “We ended up going to the pet store, and we bought five pet goldfish,” Eva recalls. “I named all five of the fish after my boyfriend,” she giggles. “Sadly, only one of them is still alive, but he’s still in our apartment, and his name is Toby.”
The album itself, written over a three or four year period, is a venture through the turmoil and elation, the swings and roundabouts, and the highs and lows that come bundled in with coming of age. The band’s sugar coated garage pop sounds like it was ripped out of your favourite teen 90s soundtrack and slammed screaming into the 21st century. Ferocious in its flawed admissions, the record takes ownership of its every quirk and question, and the result is equal parts energising and enriching.
“Listening back, I feel like a lot of the album sounds to me like me growing up, and going through all of the bad relationships you’re supposed to go through in and out of college,” Eva portrays. Describing the album by saying that “it’s a pop record about being insecure that you can dance to and feel happy,” ‘Guppy’ is as relatable as it is sensational.
“I feel like I have a very obsessive personality,” Eva states of her influences. “I find one thing that I love and then it’s all I want to consume for a month or two. I feel like sometimes that can be a bad thing, because self-doubt creeps in. I have to have a balance.” Drawing from the likes of celebrated comic series Love & Rockets and iconic show Buffy The Vampire Slayer (with references to the latter scattered through the songs), the record is created with a passion and enthusiasm too vivid to ignore.
With the album finally being released this month, things are only going to get more exciting for the bubble-grunge band. “I’m so excited to tour more and consistently,” Eva enthuses. “There’s a small chance a-brewing that we might be coming to play some shows in Europe sometime soon,” she hints. “That would be a massive dream come true.” With their first headline tour of the US ahead of them, and admitting that they are “already working on the next record,” it’s onwards and upwards for the New York four-piece.
Excited about “just having this record finally out, and seeing where that takes us,” the future’s looking decidedly bright for Charly Bliss. “I’ve never put out an album before so I don’t know if this is just normal,” Eva chuckles. “Because these songs have been in waiting for so long, and we have all this emotional attachment to them, it feels kind of like releasing our baby into the world. Amazing and terrifying.” Daunted they may be, but in ‘Guppy’ the band have created a formidable force. Standing on the precipice of something great, Charly Bliss are going to take the world by storm.
Charly Bliss’s album ‘Guppy’ is out 21st April.