OK, I admit it: I missed the boat with this one.
Guppy, the debut album from Brooklyn four-piece Charly Bliss, came out back in April, but I didn’t give it nearly enough attention back then. I listened to a few songs, liked what I heard just fine, but then that was it.
I realize now that I was dead wrong not to pay more attention to Guppy. It’s one of the year’s best rock records, one that just keeps getting better the more you hear it, and I now find myself wanting to force everyone around me to listen to it on repeat until they too see the light.
Lead singer Eva Hendricks has a fantastic voice—don’t trust anyone that tells you otherwise—and the band excels at living in that sweet spot between raw punk and riff-heavy 90s alternative. The guitar work and lyrics are a bit reminiscent of Pinkerton-era Weezer, but don’t be fooled: this no mere throwback.
The songwriting throughout Guppy is also impressive; Charly Bliss played together for years before releasing this record and it’s obvious when you hear the band play. Smoke the last of the bad pot, Hendricks sings on “Black Hole,” one of the album’s best songs. Listen in on your last thought/ Will to live or a life lost/ Bury me in the bad box. It’s one of many examples on Guppy of her ability to convey an entire story with just a few simple lines. She actually reminds me of Courtney Barnett in that way—both singers might sound like they’re singing lyrics they made up on the spot, but that’s all part of the illusion. These aren’t just thrown-together words; they’re real, meaningful words, and they pack a lot of punch.
If it was still the late 90s when people actually bought CDs and MTV regularly featured new rock bands, I could see Charly Bliss being absolutely huge right now. “Percolator, “Black Hole” and “Ruby” all sounds like could have been big hits back then, and Hendricks has a one-of-a-kind presence that makes her sound like a real star. This isn’t the late 90s, of course, so it might take the band just a bit longer to become a household name. But I do hope it happens. The world needs them.