Three years since Brooklyn quartet Charly Bliss seduced power-pop fans with their EP, Soft Serve, the band’s debut full-length album, Guppy [Barsuk], is finally with us. From the gnarly bubblegum-grunge guitars of “Percolator,” to the infectiously hooky chorus of “Glitter,” to the Weezer-like grind of “Ruby,” singer/guitarist Eva Hendricks and guitarist Spencer Fox apply their Fender offsets to one delectable riff after another. And whatever genre you call home, it’s also a superbly sharp wedge to hammer in between the electronic pabulum and auto-tuned schlock that often dominates the charts today.
The scary thing is, Hendricks, Fox, bassist Dan Shure, and drummer Sam Hendricks (Eva’s brother) almost didn’t get the album made for fear of not being cool enough.
“For a long time, we got caught up in thinking, ‘What genre are we in? Is it cool? What are we doing in comparison to everybody else in Brooklyn?’ Do people feel our music is too rooted in ’90s indie rock?” says Hendricks. “It’s sad and maybe kind of pointless to get too deep into worrying about that, but it took us so long to figure that out. Ultimately, I think what’s great about our music—or what I’m most proud of—is the fun. It feels good to play, and I think people can come to a show and jump around to it. To me, that can’t be rooted in any decade, and I feel like we can’t pay too much attention to what’s ‘in’ right now, because all that stuff cycles out so quickly.”
If it took a while to get there, the grinding, churning guitar glory of Guppy came together impressively quickly. Basics were recorded in a mere two days at Atomic Studios in Redhook, Brooklyn, and followed by a week of overdubs at Fancy Time Studio in Philadelphia.
“We kept much of our live tracking,” says Fox, “because the room sounded so amazing. I think about 95 percent of Eva’s guitars from those first two days made it onto the record. A few of the more prominent overdubs were done by plugging a guitar straight into the board and using input-preamp distortion. I’ve always loved the way that sounds. It’s so gnarly—like you’re running your guitar through a laser. We also discovered, after spending hours trying to get huge guitar sounds for some tracks, that plugging my Fender Jaguar into a Marshall JCM800 and a Big Muff was all we needed. We were trying all this crazy sh*t, and we ended up doing exactly what we should have started with.”
CHARLY ’S ANGELS
> Eva Hendricks: 1973 Fender “Competition” Mustang, Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, Henretta Engineering Chord Blaster Overdrive/Distortion.
> Spencer Fox: Fender Johnny Marr Jaguar, Fender ’65 Twin Reverb reissue, T1M The Pearl Dual Overdrive, Fulltone OCD, Way Huge Fat Sandwich, Strymon El Capistan.