It sure has been a long time coming for the Brooklyn-based quartet Charly Bliss to finally release their debut album. Formed more than five years ago out of friendship, at a young age, Spencer Fox (guitar) and Eva Hendricks (vocals) joined up with her older brother Sam Hendricks (drums), and ex-boyfriend Dan Shure (bass) to form the band. A strange twist of fate where all their stories intertwine, leading them to one another, Charly Bliss as a unit bring something absolutely exhilarating and fun to the New York Alternative Rock scene with corrosive guitar licks, strange lyricism, and tormented, but downright charming vocals. Radiating a vibrancy that is akin to ’90s goodies Superchunk and Veruca Salt, on April 21st, their long overdue debut LP Guppy is bound to launch underground Rock into a whole new world of sunny, colorful fun.
A follow-up to the 2014 EP, Soft Serve, Guppy is a total of ten tracks which hit you with churning guitars and oozing ambiance. Kicking it all off, “Percolator” brings Placebo-like instrumentation that is followed by hectic Stoner Rock guitar wails. “Come on baby, get me high,” Eva Hendricks moans with a sugary-sweet flair, but soon packs a guttural punch coupled with infantile screams covered in blood and glitter. Third track, and one of many shining stars of Guppy, “Glitter” is a fevered Pop jam blistered with delightfully heavy, driven bass and candy-coated with sharp lyricism. Complemented by a stand out chorus, it couples delicious distortion, backed by sunny vocals. Top it off with an uber-nostalgic vintage keyboard line, and you have yourself a scrumptious helping of saccharine Garage Pop.
Full of positive points, the instrumentation is a key to Guppy, as the percussions and bass drive the ragged, bubbly verses to paint-peeling, colorful choruses. One example such is “Gatorade,” which features hauntingly low-droning verses that is matched with aggressively dreamy choruses, creating a sound that could only emerge from Brooklyn. Then, on “Totalizer,” self-deprecating millennial Indie Punk lyricism is met with witty one-liners and a sharp chorus that spins swiftly. Again, Eva Hendricks voice boldly stands tall, illustrating her massive range from a low rasp to tantrum-like shrieks.
However, two tracks which are bound to be fan-favorites “Ruby” and “DQ,” both so fast-paced, they might leave some listeners feeling a little dizzy. That said, “Ruby” is the epitome of Guppy – scornful, sarcastic, bubbly, yet rough-around-the-edges. It is gritty and blistered, yet has a certain bubblegum exterior that makes it so damn appealing. Then there is “DQ,” which is similar with its highlighted percussion driven by minimalistic guitar licks in the verses. It is here Eva Hendricks goes on a total vivacious rant throughout, expressing her discontent with her life’s path as solid musicianship drive the deep cut into a fuzzy, vibrant abyss.
All in all, Guppy is brutally honest, satisfyingly sweet, and desperately cathartic. It is scornful, jolting, and empowering as all hell – a sugary concoction of old-school Punk, fuzzy ambience, and vibrancy that makes you want to come-of-age all over again. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives Guppy 4.5 out of 5 stars.