📸 : @chuckersatz

💖 Charly Bliss – Young Enough to create pure pop bliss, Old Enough to fucking rule 💖

Hendricks is living proof that there is glitter at the end of the tunnel & we must say there’s a lot more to the fire inside this album than meets the eye. Young Enough is the ringing truth that silence is over.

An introduction to Charly Bliss for those of you that have been asleep or insanely high for the last 2 years ✨💖✨💖✨💖✨

On Guppy

📸 : rough trade east 14/05/2019

Charly Bliss has long time been a favourite band of mine. So much so that 2 years ago they were the first band whose lyrics I’ve ever had tattooed on my body. Despite this, no-one was expecting me to fangurl upon seeing them any less than myself . . .

Whilst previous release ‘Soft Serve’ featured seminal track ‘Love Me’, a deep fan favourite, the band truly reached cadence in 2017 upon the release of ‘Guppy’.

Borrowing from indie-punk touches with a grunge-pop twist, the band were incredible at mixing sugary sweet with the bitterness of reality. The vocals of front woman Eva Hendricks sound pretty much as though Kim Shattuck was re-made of bubble-gum (the glow-up we never knew we wanted but are all more than ready to die for). Guppy was the edgy break up album that every feminist who ‘still wears pink’ was waiting for.

So, you can imagine the surprise of fans when the band re-emerged later as a pop sensation with hits ‘Heaven’ & ‘Capacity’. Whilst many have no specific aversion to pop, seemingly the band had lost the abrasive dynamic between naivety & bitterness that had been their initial connection to the world. Where was the emotion? Where was the connection? Where was the darkness?

Young Enough – Song Depiction

If you wish to listen to the release of album ‘Young Enough’ purely on a synthetic level, go ahead. You will have a great time as the band have collaborated on a creation that is nothing less than pure pop bliss. However, scratch below the surface & you will come to find that the emotion behind Young Enough is breakthrough catharsis evoked on a level that only abuse survivors can attain.

The album is sugared with a story of release from emotional detention. Speaking of the pain of being in such a relationship, Hendricks denotes the up/down dynamic of problematic relationships in ‘Camera’. Asserting that ‘always either running or I’m always overflowing from it, if you think it’s bad today just wait’, & following up with the crushing realisation that ‘when he follows me the light inside my stomach dies’.

The song also nods to the distress at being so crushed that you wish someone else could take control or the person you are partnered with would just disappear. Eva writes that ‘everything is coming, not sure what I should be learning from it, how can I convince you not to stay?’. The album outlines the classic self-shaming that many victims experience, feeling as though the hurt is their fault, & there is something they should be doing to become stronger or to grow into this situation. That failing to do so means they are weak.

In hit song ‘Capacity’ you begin to see Eva’s journey back to self-confidence emerge. First, building enough understanding to label the behaviour as having a negative & manipulative effect on her ‘sever every microscopic atom of connection to, “I can barely keep myself afloat when I’m not saving you”’, then through her release from the relationship, to realising that the situation is not her fault ‘resurrected from the basement, I’m at capacity, I’m spilling out of me, it’s got nothing to do with me’. The song is a story of triumph & elation. A breaking free of that which is breaking you.

She goes on to urge other girls to prioritise themselves over things that are harmful, or for that matter anything that takes them away from their true selves. ‘I used to think one man could fill me up, but now I know that if I’m always stuck obsessed with somebody else, distracting myself from looking at myself’ . . . the song trails off to remind us that you have to resurrect yourself from the basement through focussing on & nurturing yourself.

The experience is not one without struggle, however. Hendricks does a great job in ‘Blown to Bits’ of reminding us that feelings are not linear, & that is often the reason why people get stuck in these situations for so long. A whole spectrum of emotions can exist in one singular moment of our lives, & it is important to remember that when dealing with difficult situations. The song pays tribute to the severe exhaustion experienced when stuck in a negative pattern, whilst simultaneously needing to utilise the small fire within you to preserve yourself. ‘I feel so tired, can’t believe this is it, it’s gonna break my heart to see it blown to bits’.

📸 : @amdo_photo

The song later outcries the momentary stomach flip of leaving a relationship, having nothing to hold you standing upright but the conviction that you have to do this, ‘drunk walking home, making the choice to be completely alone’, shortly followed by the triumph of turning your life around ‘poised to fail then somehow suddenly win’.

Upon leaving the relationship, ‘Bleach’ bursts with the triumph & sickening realisation that someone was undermining you for so long. ‘sick with worry, plagued by fear, it took so long to say I know I wasn’t happy there’. Alongside eradicating the sexist apprehensions that normalise this kind of behaviour towards girls, Eva spits venom right back into the face of the patriarchy stating – ‘spitting me out and I should say something nice? I’m fucking joy and I haemorrhage light’. The singer emerges stronger from the destruction of the relationship, ‘he can destroy everything that I like, big as buildings and bleach-stained white’, & is fuelled by the fire that only a strong aptitude towards feminism can provide ‘dust under the world explodes, now every day I thank the moon and stars that I was born a girl’.

Following her emergence from the situation, ‘Chatroom’ marks the struggle with staying strong & public vindication faced by any survivor. As well as the continued feelings of responsibility for the person that you were previously bound by. ‘I’m not gonna take you home, I’m not gonna save you, no’, ‘I am trusting, well-adjusted, marked me dormant, I erupted’. At the London show Hendricks held 2 middle fingers up whilst singing ‘I was chaste in the Chatroom talking about you, everybody knows you’re the second coming’. Evoking the unchastened defiance of a person who will no longer be defeated. I have to say the audience’s fingers were right up there with you Eva.

In an incredibly tear-jerking moment at the London show, Eva states that the band have never played ‘Hurt Me’ in front of an audience before. As the room is filled with deep emotion she asserts ‘remember all the plastic proof? how I punished me for you?’, ‘the way your shirt hangs off your back, easy, but you’re nothing like that, eyes like a funeral, mouth like a bruise, veins like a hallway, voice like a wound’. Hendricks rallies the eternal victim pleading ‘you don’t wonna hurt me, you don’t wonna hurt me, baby’, subliminally outlining how pain & romance intermingle in a destructive relationship.

📸 : @chuckersatz

Moving on from a tumultuous situation is incredibly hard & requires a lot of courage. Hard to Believe’ digs deeper on the ups & downs of still being in love with someone that hurts you, whilst trying everything to move forwards (or at the very least to stop yourself sympathising with your worser half). ‘I’m kissing everything that moves, I’m kissing anything that takes me far away from you’. The song echoes the internal bargaining of survivors who just want the abuse to stop, ‘each night I fall to the feeling, I pray you don’t really mean it’, whilst reconciling that with the hate they feel has been consigned towards them & the loss of love, embodying the void that they are left with, ‘tomorrow is coming, it’s always so ugly, tomorrow is coming, I know you don’t love me’. Whilst many don’t understand the continued feelings of attachment that people experience in this type of relationship, ‘Hard to Believe’ pays great tribute to the fact that feelings don’t just disappear, there is still a part of you that needs to grieve for the happier times, or that feeling of connection however toxic.

The albums title track ‘Young Enough’ does a great job of surmising the experience. There are nostalgic ‘do you remember?’ lyrics, culminating in the gut wrenching ‘do you remember running barefoot against me?’. The singer comes out of ‘Young Enough’ having lived through a journey from naivety to one of experience. Moving from feelings of normalisation, ‘we’re young enough to believe it should hurt this much’, to reasoning of responsibility, ‘I elected to drown in you’, to finally reconciling that her situation holds no culpability, ‘I can’t protect you now if I couldn’t save you then’. Hendricks can finally lay the emotions of her severed past to rest, stating ‘panicked, exploding, the headlights below us, I had to outgrow it to know or destroy you’. She has finally purged herself of the poison of the relationship ‘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’.

                                              📸 : @chuckersatz photos taken in Paris

Young Enough – Final Thoughts

Eva may have undergone a journey of having to rediscover herself but having seen her perform in London I’d say she’s damn sure of it now!

The release of album ‘Young Enough’ marks the consolidation of the ideals, optimism, & naivety, alongside the crushing understanding that reality bites!

Whilst it would be natural to compare the bands re-emergence as a pop sensation with that of Paramore’s ‘After Laughter’, the personal journey of Hendricks & the band is more akin to that of the release of Taylor Swift’s1989′. Transitioning from wholesome grunge-pop band reminiscent of The Muffs or Veruca Salt, Eva’s ascension to global icon through ‘Young Enough’ comes with it a message of empowerment.

Though fickle fans will have a bad taste in their mouth about a reference to Taylor Swift (yes we remember you shaking it off the minute 1989 wasn’t ‘cool’ anymore), as the band eschew their ‘country equivalent’ roots to take on a more ephemeral adaptation, ‘Young Enough’ speaks on a pane, & reaches a height that only those truly connected to the message can understand. And that is no easy feat.

On the whole, the album is a triumph of true expression, a construction of the artists most authentic self.

You may prefer the more punk roots brought to you by ‘Guppy’, but if you’re still looking for the darkness – the truth is you don’t need it. Hendricks is living proof that there is glitter at the end of the tunnel & we must say there’s a lot more to the fire inside this album than meets the eye. Young Enough is the ringing truth that silence is over.

If you haven’t heard it yet, you missed out on Eva’s tinsel dress at the London show but it’s still definitely worth a listen 😉 just make sure you come with a fresh perspective – the band certainly has.

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