Aired on NPR’s All Things Considered on May 20, 2019
The four friends who make up the band Charly Bliss have grown a lot since they first met at summer camp as teenagers. The band’s latest album, Young Enough, out now, was born out of growing pains.
Lead vocalist Eva Hendricks says the songs on this album were inspired by bad relationships — the kind that consume you and chip away at you until there’s none of you left. The songs explore the crippling need to be liked — even if it means losing yourself in the process.
The band’s pristine hooks and Hendricks’ sugary vocal delivery call to mind ’90s alt-rock predecessors. Hendricks says the Brooklyn band was also inspired by big pop records, resulting in lyrics seething with resentment and frustration commingling with rippling crystal synths until it all comes crashing to an end.
But these songs don’t just stew in sorrow. The sound stands in stark contrast to the pain in the words. The glittering title track is the album’s whole foundation. It’s an aching, joyful moment that belies the song’s warning: Love doesn’t have to hurt for it to be meaningful. It’s a slow burner that grows and grows until it collapses into a crumbling supernova of a song.
“Feast for eyes, how I changed your mind / but 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,” Hendricks sings.
It’s one of many lessons on “Young Enough.” But it never feels like Hendricks is lecturing us. These are her own hard-earned lessons, the most important of which is probably also the hardest to come by: That any relationship that asks you to hand over your autonomy or your happiness isn’t worth your time. It’s a liberating realization.
We rarely stroll into adulthood. Charly Bliss sees that journey more like a mad dash, marked by moments of heartache. Young Enough lays bare those growing pains, then leaves them all in the dust with a strong dose of sonic bliss.