One of my surprise finds right at the end of 2017 was Charly Bliss. Bliss creates bubblegum rock. Big chords, some dissonance in the melody, huge drums, rocking bass and a whatever cute two fingered screw you vocal delivery. It’s infectious and embodies everything I enjoyed about music when I was 14-16yrs old.
From the introductory smashing of cymbals and chords from “Perculator”, you are immediately awoken with the brightness of even the minor chords. It’s raucous, melodic, and celebrates all that is college rock. There’s a smash of Green Day, Blink182, Hole and Weezer. The synths also play into the latter’s mould with anthems like “Westermarck” where the keyboards give off a 60’s Americana cuteness alongside gritty electric guitar solos. “Glitter” is the biggest anthem of the album. It’s crammed full of hooks and ironic statements in the lyrics, all tightly woven into a three-minute rock piece. In fact, only one song goes over three and a half minutes on the album so expect Guppy to be brief, but euphoric.
Even the slower and quieter tracks are fun to jam to. “Black Hole” is a perfect example of a mid-tempo track done perfectly. The guitars are more intricate but there’s still a grungy overtone to everything in the verses before all the moshing breaks out for the choruses. “Scare U” is a masterclass in a two-minute ditty. The way how the vocals and guitars are not in tune but are together is a great touch. “Ruby” is female Green Day on full sugar coke, whereas “DQ” shows off the guitar chops that often get overlooked in these types of rock songs.
“Gatorade” is Charly’s two-chord riff track – although it certainly doesn’t stay that way for long as things evolve quickly and I really think that’s the key to this album’s brilliance. It’s all very well getting a great riff on repeat, but Bliss knows how to twist and turn a great riff into something that doesn’t tire the ear or the mind. “Totalizer” shows this off by having two different riff’s playing off against each other but then the chord progression is a mix of the two – so nothing feels old as it changes every couple of bars. The closing track “Julia” is the only long track and it’s the token slow track. It broods, builds, explodes and get’s angry with itself in great style and shows that beyond three and four chord structures, Charly Bliss can craft other songs too.
“Guppy” is a revelation. It’s rock the way I remember it as a teenager. I danced around the living room jumping around when I first heard the album – and I still do it now. Its a superb elixir of music.
Recommended Track: Glitter