For Charly Bliss, Bad Relationships And Growing Pains Commingle With Crystal Synths

May 20, 2019
Originally published on May 20, 2019 7:43 pm

The four friends who make up the band Charly Bliss have grown a lot since they first met at summer camp as teenagers. The band's latest album, Young Enough, out now, was born out of growing pains.

Lead vocalist Eva Hendricks says the songs on this album were inspired by bad relationships — the kind that consume you and chip away at you until there's none of you left. The songs explore the crippling need to be liked — even if it means losing yourself in the process.

The band's pristine hooks and Hendricks' sugary vocal delivery call to mind '90s alt-rock predecessors. Hendricks says the Brooklyn band was also inspired by big pop records, resulting in lyrics seething with resentment and frustration commingling with rippling crystal synths until it all comes crashing to an end.

But these songs don't just stew in sorrow. The sound stands in stark contrast to the pain in the words. The glittering title track is the album's whole foundation. It's an aching, joyful moment that belies the song's warning: Love doesn't have to hurt for it to be meaningful. It's a slow burner that grows and grows until it collapses into a crumbling supernova of a song.

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"Feast for eyes, how I changed your mind / but who am I if I don't have you now? / Nobody knows you / The fate of a crush / How I had to consume and destroy us," Hendricks sings.

It's one of many lessons on "Young Enough." But it never feels like Hendricks is lecturing us. These are her own hard-earned lessons, the most important of which is probably also the hardest to come by: That any relationship that asks you to hand over your autonomy or your happiness isn't worth your time. It's a liberating realization.

We rarely stroll into adulthood. Charly Bliss sees that journey more like a mad dash, marked by moments of heartache. Young Enough lays bare those growing pains, then leaves them all in the dust with a strong dose of sonic bliss.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The four friends who make up the band Charly Bliss met at summer camp when they were teenagers. And their debut album dissected that awkward, sometimes painful period of life. Now they're older. And their second album, called "Young Enough," is bolder, less indie, more pop.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BLOWN TO BITS")

CHARLY BLISS: (Singing) Life as we know it, anything goes. Karate lessons, reality shows...

KELLY: But reviewer Miguel Perez says Charly Bliss is still searching for something to make that climb towards adulthood a bit easier.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BLOWN TO BITS")

CHARLY BLISS: (Singing) It's going to break my heart to see it blown to bits. It's going to break my heart to see it blown to bits.

MIGUEL PEREZ, BYLINE: Frontwoman Eva Hendricks says "Young Enough" was born out of bad relationships - the kind that consume you and chip away at you until there's none of you left. The songs explore the crippling need to be liked, even if it means losing yourself in the process.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CAPACITY")

CHARLY BLISS: (Singing) I used to think that I should be good at everything. Now I know I was wrong. I used to think that I should do right by everyone. Now I know I was wrong.

PEREZ: The band's pristine hooks and Hendricks' sugary vocal delivery call to mind their '90s alt-rock predecessors. The Brooklyn band was also inspired by big pop records. The result, lyrics seething with resentment and frustration commingle with rippling crystal synths until it all comes crashing to an end.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CAPACITY")

CHARLY BLISS: (Singing) Resurrected from the basement. I'm at capacity. I'm spilling out of me. It's got nothing to do with me.

PEREZ: But the songs here don't just stew in their sorrow. The sound stands in stark contrast to the pain in the words.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YOUNG ENOUGH")

CHARLY BLISS: (Singing) We're young enough to believe it should hurt this much. The stripes, your eyes, I always wanted to try.

PEREZ: The band says the glittering title track is the album's whole foundation. It's an aching, joyful moment that belies the song's warning. Love doesn't have to hurt for it to be meaningful. It's a slow burner that grows and grows until it collapses into a crumbling supernova of a song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YOUNG ENOUGH")

CHARLY BLISS: (Singing) Feast for eyes, how I changed your mind. But who am I if I don't have you now? Nobody knows you. The fate of a crush, how I had to consume and destroy us.

PEREZ: It's one of many lessons on "Young Enough." But it never feels like Hendricks is lecturing us. These are her own hard-earned lessons, the most important of which is probably also the hardest to come by, that any relationship asking you to hand over your autonomy or your happiness isn't worth your time. It's a liberating realization.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BLEACH")

CHARLY BLISS: (Singing) Plants and people want to grow. They lean into the sun and press against my window in the way. Sick with worry, plagued by fear. It took so long to say. I know I wasn't happy there or here.

PEREZ: It's rare that we stroll into adulthood. Charly Bliss sees that journey more like a mad dash marked by moments of heartache. The record lays bare those growing pains and then leaves them all in the dust with a strong dose of sonic bliss.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHARLY BLISS SONG, "BLEACH")

KELLY: The new album from Charly Bliss is called "Young Enough." Our reviewer, Miguel Perez, is a producer for KERA in Dallas.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BLEACH")

CHARLY BLISS: (Singing) Spitting me out and I should say something nice? Big as buildings and bleach-stained white. Surrounded by the things... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.