It’s been longer than half a decade, but finally, just finally, Charly Bliss has a full-length LP to follow 2014’s EP Soft Serve. Brooklyn’s four-piece makes power pop that practically injects Pixy Stix into its veins, but perfecting that sound took some time, and now that it’s here critics and fans alike can’t stop singing along.
“I’m happy to see that we took the time to figure out what is Charly Bliss. So much was established by playing show after show after show,” says vocalist and guitarist Eva Hendricks. “The first time we recorded the record, I still don’t think we knew who we wanted to be. We listened and realized all of a sudden that, yes there’s garage and grunge parts, but that we make pop music. We like to write catchy melodies. We need to make a record that showcases that.”
Guppy, the group’s first proper album, has yappy ’90s alt-rock vocals courtesy of Eva Hendricks, Weezer-like guitar solos thanks to Spencer Fox, drum fills by Sam Hendricks that keep the energy going, and secretly powerful bass by Dan Shure. Think Veruca Salt meets Speedy Ortiz plus some Letters to Cleo for good luck. It will blast sunshine into your window and make you jump around, even if you’ve been in a slump for weeks. Yet as impromptu as the bursts of energy feel, it secretly took a long time to get them to that point.
“We recorded it twice, we had ups and downs finding the right label to release it, and it felt in general like one of those, ‘Will this ever happen?’ things. The biggest goal was just getting this out. I remember having so many calls with my mom telling her I wasn’t sure if it’d ever come out,” says Hendricks. “So all that [press] that wound up happening felt like an incredible bonus that none of us saw coming because we were so caught up in just releasing it at all.”
With an album of bubblegum alt-rock, it goes without saying that Charly Bliss sees the world through giddy eyes, and much of what the four talk about off record is just as fun as what they sing about on record. To figure out how they have so much fun, we interviewed frontwoman Eva Hendricks for a round of Wheel of Tunes, a series where we ask bands questions inspired by their song titles.
DIGBOSTON: How many cups of coffee do you have in a typical day?
HENDRICKS: I have zero cups of coffee in a day! Sam—my brother, who is in the band—and I are so caffeine sensitive. People always ask, “How much coffee do you have to drink to put on a show with that much energy?” The answer is none [laughs]. I’m so naturally anxious that I think coffee would put me over the edge and send me down a dark anxiety spiral. But everyone else in the band drinks a ton of coffee. We’re all baristas, which is the funniest part of it!
DIGBOSTON: Do you believe reverse sexual imprinting is real?
HENDRICKS: Like do I believe it’s impossible for people to fall in love with the people they were raised with? And that people who live close to one another become desensualized to those in a close proximity? Yeah, I think I do. Even with my older brother’s friends and stuff, who I was around constantly growing up—a lot of them are objectively attractive humans, but I feel sexually revolted by them. I gave it credit as a song title, so I have to give the theory my vote, too.
DIGBOSTON: What’s the craziest experience you’ve ever had involving glitter?
HENDRICKS: Shit. Hm. Well, we were in Portland at our favorite restaurant, called Hollywood Theater. The girl behind the counter had this amazing glitter makeup look. I tried so many times to recreate it. I use glitter as eyeshadow, but she was using it to cover under her lower lids, like where my gigantic dark circles are. It looked amazing and totally flawless. I asked where she got the makeup, tried to copy it all last summer, and never actually achieved it.
There are other glitter things I’d say, like how when I was eight years old, I had a birthday party with some kind of makeover theme. There was a lot of glitter there, much to my mom’s dismay.
4) “Black Hole”
DIGBOSTON: If you could send anyone into a black hole, who would it be and why?
HENDRICKS: TRUMP! Obviously.
5) “Scare U”
DIGBOSTON: What’s the best prank you’ve ever pulled on someone?
HENDRICKS: I’ve never achieved pulling one off. I’m the youngest of my siblings and all of my cousins, and I don’t think I’ve ever successfully pranked any of them.
I will tell you that the best prank to ever be pulled on me is an ongoing one. Do you know Russell Stover boxes of chocolate that your nana gets you for Valentine’s Day? There’s one chocolate in there that’s my absolute favorite: buttercream caramel. It looks identical to the worst candy in the entire boxes: fruit and nut caramel. All of my life, my brother Sam switches them in the box. The diagram says which candy is where, so I would go to grab what I thought was buttercream caramel and it’d always be fruit and nut caramel. Finally, I wised up and knew he swapped them, but he knew I would’ve wised up so he didn’t swap them—so I ate the fucking fruit and nut one again. He does it to me every… single… time. It’s the bane of my existence.
DIGBOSTON: Are gemstones overrated or underrated?
HENDRICKS: How fun! They’re overrated in the sense that they’re very expensive and I cannot afford actual gemstones. Underrated in that they’re beautiful and I wish I could bedazzle everything I own in them. Somewhere in the middle.
DIGBOSTON: What’s the most underrated item Dairy Queen serves?
HENDRICKS: Oh, easy: Their cheeseburger is actually really, really good. We once had a terrible experience where I was driving the van and we accidentally ended up in this insane fog storm. I couldn’t see one foot in front of me on this terrifying mountain. I was shaking. We finally got out of it, pulled over at a DQ, and I got a cheeseburger there for the first time. It was so good. I’ll always associate it with me almost dying, then I ate a cheeseburger there, and it saved me in more ways than one.
DIGBOSTON: What’s your go-to Gatorade flavor?
HENDRICKS: Red, just like it says in the song! I’ve always loved that flavor, which I associate with being on long car rides where my mom got it for Sam and I. We would show up at our relative’s house with bright red lips [laughs].
DIGBOSTON: Instead of inches or meters, what should we use to measure objects?
HENDRICKS: What a great question I never thought I’d be asked. Okay, I have been obsessed with drawing these—like I have a tattoo of one of them—tiny, little, dancing toast people. All of my guitar picks have them on it. I think that should be a unit of measurement: toasties. Specifically the ones that I draw.
DIGBOSTON: If you were Julia Stiles in 10 Things I Hate About You, what’s one thing you would say or do differently in the movie?
HENDRICKS: That’s one of my favorite movies of all time! Oh my god. I don’t think I would have been able to resist Heath Ledger for that long. So cute and charming! I would kill to get to wear those outfits, to get to live out that paintballing scene, you know? That’s my favorite romance movie and first-kiss moment. But yeah, that’s the only thing; I’d probably be all over Heath Ledger immediately.
CHARLY BLISS, YUCKY DUSTER, LOST DOG. SAT 6.17. ONCE SOMERVILLE, 156 HIGHLAND AVE., SOMERVILLE. 8PM/18+/$12. ONCESOMERVILLE.COM