Charly Bliss, Young Enough (2019)
I'll note right off the bat that Eva Hendricks' helium squeal may take some getting used to (think an updated Dale Bozzio of new wave innovators Missing Persons). But once you embrace the exuberant joy she conveys, like she's just having a blast singing these songs for us, it's pretty damn infectious, and hard to imagine the songs without her distinctive pipes.
The band's 2016 debut (Guppy) was a more straightforward blast of noisy guitar-based indie pop-rock (albeit a great one). On the follow-up, they add some keyboards, bringing a deliberate new wave feel to a number of tracks (i.e. "Capacity") and some subtle nuance to others. They've also learned their way around the studio, giving this a bright radio-friendly sheen. But there is no slow-down in the fantastic hooks that make this such riotous ear candy. You've got plenty of the bubblegum power pop that you'd expect after the first album ("Under You," "Bleach," "Hard to Believe"), albeit with some of the sharper edges sanded down. And a few risk sounding like more commercial synth-driven alt.rock radio fare, but are thoroughly elevated by the band's clever navigation of non-stop hooks and Hendricks' undeniable charm (i.e. the big, boomy title track, and "Chatroom," which obscures some darker lyrical content under a deceptively delirious tune). And that's to say nothing of the opening call to arms "Blown to Bits" and the lyrically intriguing closing track "The Truth," which make for some amazing bookends.
I've made it through the album twice and I've had it less than a day; pretty sure I'll be spinning it non-stop in the weeks ahead.
Here's your new favorite song for the summer of 2019, "Under You":
Buy it on Amazon.