Guppy

'Guppy' by Charly Bliss, album review by Owen Maxwell

Our Rating

7.5

New York pop-grunge outfit Charly Bliss didn’t take too long to take their catchy but grinding sound to a fleshed out LP. Mashing their fiery and static guitars with some sunny but aggressive vocals their first full record is a powerful statement on moving into adulthood and all the angst that comes with it.

Grinding to life on the desperate “Percolator” the guitars roar and drums thump with a pounding emotional intensity, and while Eva Hendricks bright and crispy vocals are extremely contrasting they don’t take away from the raw energy in the slightest. “Westermarck” takes a much more simple beginning before diving into a harmony and heavy guitar dive in a killer melodic mishmash of tones. The way each verse slowly fades from happy to demented without being noticeable is a strange magic, and the throttling bass the runs throughout it drives it forward.

Switching to a racing pace on “Glitter” there’s lighter pop to the sound, turning the guitars into a tool of energy rather than emotion, with the band’s sheer pop sensibility delivering addictive melody after melody to leave the track without a dull moment to spare, even creeping shrieks from feedback throughout the background to fill out the sound. The climactic solo builds to a peak until every instrument is thrashing in time and bubbling with fire. “Black Hole” opens on such a loose and chaotic tick that it’s hard to catch where it’s going, making its resolve in the chorus all the more satisfying. Bursting into a solo barely two minutes in the track spares no time hitting every moment they strive to fit in, pushing a few screams in for good measure.

Ticking drums mixed with waving guitar notes, “Scare U” is fun and simple, although occasionally too much so at times, the track does have a myriad of dynamic moments making it feel perfect for a live setting. Moving into the darker tinged “Ruby” there’s a underlying sadness to the fun guitars, pushing it past the fun distortion to something more layered and complex than it may appear. With fun riff-fueled moments and classic but not overdone, drum-fill stops it has just enough attitude and emotion to make its mark.

“DQ” takes an effected attack on Hendricks’ vocals, mixed in with the instruments to find cool mix of harmonies and dissonance to make a clashing combo that pushes the annoyed energy of the track forward, while talking about the troubles of escaping youth. Pushing on a heavy grind “Gatorade” has a cloudy tone to its rock, always feeling on the brink exploding, and its melodic refrains are all the more fun because of it. Hendricks’ pushes her vocals to match the bands ever-disintegrating sound to make a mix that works perfectly despite what her brighter voice would have you expect.

Taking the riff-directed route, “Totalizer” piles hook after hook together on a track that begs for head-bobbing and chants at every moment. Going for a hard-hitting ending, they go thrashing in their solo before going absolutely nuclear in a breakdown so frantic it’s hard to believe they outdid their solo. Going out on a downbeat finale, “Julia” is a slow-burning flame of an outro. Feeling heavily grounded in negative emotions, the track feels constantly on the verge of collapsing, and its final solo takes it all the closer making it all the more exciting.

Never stumbling but occasionally feeling a little too familiar, Guppy is a fun and energetic record that only suffers from feeling like we’ve seen it before. Saved by the passion behind every melody and lyric and the sheer electricity in its delivery, the album is one that sets the band up as one to watch in the years to come and something of a force of nature in a live setting.

Written by Owen Maxwell