With the ‘next big thing’ alarm sounding, we dispatched Getintothis‘ David Hall to Parr Street to fill in the relevant NBT paperwork and check Charly Bliss’ credentials.
It’s early doors for New York City’s Charly Bliss, with only a clutch of EPs and a newly-released album under their belts in Guppy. But the four piece have hit the ground running on their first UK visit, playing a riotously received sold out London show at The Old Blue Last earlier this week.
So they might turn in a good performance in our nation’s capital, but can they do it on a rainy Tuesday night in Stoke? Or, more accurately, a bright crisp Friday evening in Liverpool?
Getintothis caught the quartet as they made their way up north to Merseyside, and hit Parr Street’s Studio 2. But first the spiky, atonal riffs of bright-futured pop punks Crossroads whipped the local crowd into a frenzy, then the glammier Flooded Basement taking to the stage in support.
It’s a pointer towards the varied influences of Charly Bliss, who’s bubble-grunge followed, paying homage as much to the pop-punk of Paramore as to the alt-rock of Pavement or the Breeders. This sort of scurrying, noisy sound is en vogue at the moment, with the likes of Honeyblood and Wolf Alice currently doing so well.
As soon as Charly Bliss took to the stage, it was as if the 90s had never left. The quartet wear their slacker influences on their sleeves, but tighten their sound up into a melodic brand of punk which can’t go far wrong.
Their music is characterised by a good old loud-to-quiet dynamic, with songs about therapists that begin jangly before taking headlong distortion dives. Nirvana‘s raw but accessible grunge DNA certainly lives on in Charly Bliss, capped with Eva Hendricks‘ addictively helium-pitched delivery.
Songs like Westermarck and Glitter could have been Hole offcuts that came out sounding too cheery in another life. But there was an edge to Hendricks‘ candy floss sweet vocal and often a mad glint in the singer’s eye live, that betrayed a sneer that burbled away beneath the surface.
Charly Bliss are well on their way to earning their alt-rock stripes, in support slots for bands including Veruca Salt and Sleater-Kinney, and there was more than a smattering of the riot grrrl spirit on display in Studio 2.
There was a refreshing honesty and lack of contention to Charly Bliss that could propel them far. The eye-twitchingly saccharine brilliance in their locker with songs like Ruby and Black Hole, plus a bunch of new songs all of which signposted growth and development, mean the tunes are right there. Plus with a newly-announced US tour supporting Wolf Parade upcoming, it seems like the only direction Charly Bliss are headed is up.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Gary Coughlan