Charly Bliss possess a magic. It resonates in every catchy chorus hook. It rallies at every live show. It even materialised in a trend of Charly Bliss meets Harry Potter memes that took flight around the announcement of the group’s much anticipated new album. Arriving two years after their acclaimed debut, ‘Young Enough’ is a record that showcases the band at their most magical yet. “The internet can sometimes feel like the worst place, the toilet bowl of the universe,” Eva Hendricks laughs. “It’s moments like that when the internet is used for good,” she announces, “when someone is making Charly Bliss memes out of Harry Potter stuff.”
The band – completed by Spencer Fox, Sam Hendricks, and Dan Shure – take it all in their stride. Whether it’s comparisons to Draco Malfoy, ongoing jokes about a recent (unexplainable) headline of ‘Charly Bliss Potato’ (which led to everything from Simpsons memes to superimposed images of the band using spuds as plectrums), there’s one thing that’s unavoidably clear: Charly Bliss are having the time of their lives. Theirs is a magic destined to soar, driven by an earnest enthusiasm to keep dancing through life in all of its infinite variety. It’s a magic that recently saw the group’s song feature in an episode of supernatural Netflix reboot Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Mention of the band’s licensed-for-television debut sends them into a flurry of excited exclamations. “That was the best thing that’s ever happened!” Eva squeals. Talking after a photo shoot in the Brooklyn bar where bassist Dan Shure used to work, the group are in contagiously high spirits. “We were in the van on a tour with Death Cab For Cutie, and we got a text from our manager,” Eva recalls. “This is always how he gives us news,” she chides, laughing. “He texted and said ‘do any of you guys watch Sabrina The Teenage Witch?’” She pauses to let the left-field nature of the question sink in. “Then he waits!” she exclaims. “We’re all in the car on the other end like ‘what is he going to say?!’”
It’s an achievement that has the whole band abuzz with both appreciation and possibility. “I would give my left arm to be in Riverdale,” Eva proclaims, quickly adding that “if we could’ve been a band that played at The Bronze, that would’ve been the pinnacle.” With references to Buffy The Vampire Slayer scattered through debut album ‘Guppy’, the group’s appreciation for the cult TV phenomenon is one they wear on their sleeve with pide – and with a sequel series in the works, this “pinnacle” dream of theirs might not be as far out the realm of possibility as you might think. “When I think of shows like Buffy which had so many of my favourite bands on it, that’s incredible. I wish TV shows would do more of that,” Eva enthuses. “Not just because selfishly I wish that,” she laughs, “but I think it’s so brilliant.”
No one could argue that they don’t fit the bill: a kick-ass sense of empowerment, a contagious sense of humour, and a sense of magic that can’t be ignored are all things that Charly Bliss possess in spades. Their excitement and enthusiasm for their craft – and for the record they’re about to release – is practically its own endorsement. It’s an excitement and an enthusiasm that’s been simmering for a while now, and with the release of ‘Young Enough’, looks set to send the band stratospheric.
“I always felt like I was coming to songwriting late and that I didn’t really know what I was doing,” Eva contemplates. “I kind of felt like my relationship with songwriting was like, ‘wow, a song just fell from the sky, and it’s in my head! Who knows if that will ever happen again?!’” she laughs. “When ‘Guppy’ came out it forced me to overcome that self-doubt and feel more confident in myself as a writer. I had to force myself to stop being so hard on myself and accept that it’s something that I’m good at, that I love doing.”
A labour of love, unquestionably, the release of their first album and the two years since have seen the group grow in a way they never imagined. “We didn’t really know who we were as a band yet,” Eva recalls of their debut. “We recorded an album, the first time, trying to sound like other bands.” The decisions and the ensuing process of scrapping those first sessions and recording a second time for ‘Guppy’ was a steep learning curve that played a pivotal role in Charly Bliss’ story. “Making that mistake really taught us,” Eva expresses. “We now feel very solid about who we are.”
So, who exactly are Charly Bliss? “We’re a pop band!” Eva grins. “What we value above anything is that our songs have catchy melodies and that they’re fun and that you can connect to them easily,” she explains. Clear cut lyrics? Check. Contagious hooks? Double check. An all-encompassing energy that you just don’t want to pull away from? Without a doubt. On ‘Young Enough’ Charly Bliss have it all.
“For the first time ever in a writing process, we all didn’t have jobs, or we weren’t in school or had other things taking up our days,” Eva states. “Really, we got to focus solely on writing this album, which turned out to be so awesome,” she enthuses. “It made me realise how much I love writing.” With a newfound sense of self, armed with newfound discoveries such as preproduction and GarageBand, working on ‘Young Enough’ saw the band not only finding comfort in their own skin but building from that to be the best they could be. “Having that opportunity to make music in a different way and write songs not just on guitar,” Eva describes, “I brought out some really different and cool ideas that felt new to us.”
“Our number one concern was that we did not want to make the same album twice,” she adds. “We didn’t want to just make ‘Guppy #2’. We wanted to push ourselves.” So that’s exactly what they did, and the result is nothing short of spellbinding. With a push towards using synths (after realising all four of them can play), ‘Young Enough’ arrives as a shimmering explosion of pop sensibilities, driving refrains, and contagious energy too fervent to be forced. “It’s important to us to feel that these songs would all feel thrilling and cathartic to play,” Eva states. “We all want our set, our live show, to feel like a release for us – and for our fans,” she explains, before laughing. “I don’t think we know how to write any other way; pop music makes me feel like I’m invincible.”
Described by the group as “a massively joyful expression of years of extreme and expedited growth,” ‘Young Enough’ is the sound of a band taking the helm and charting their own course, a soundtrack to showing the world who you are and what you’re made of. “We’re just going to try to enjoy this, and enjoy all the new adventures coming for us,” Eva describes. It’s a simple dream, but with magic like ‘Young Enough’, Charly Bliss are capable of rattling the stars. Whatever adventures are coming for the band, you can be sure they’re going to dazzle.
Taken from the June issue of Upset, out now. Order a copy below. Charly Bliss’s album ‘Young Enough’ is out now.