Charly Bliss

Monday, September 23
Mission Theater   All Ages
Portland, OR
Show: 8pm    Doors: 7pm

About Charly Bliss:

Charly Bliss wants their new album Forever to crush you under the weight of pure feeling. The NYC and Australia-based quartet want to sweep you up in a hurricane of heartbreak. They want you to pour your soul out singing along at their shows and alone in your bedroom. In short, says singer Eva Hendricks, they want to fucking destroy you…but in a fun way.

Forever is full of the band’s biggest, brightest batch of power pop yet. From the jittery first notes of the album opener “Tragic” until the closing number fades out, Forever grabs you by the heart and doesn’t let go.

But when Charly Bliss started working on the record, a smooth process and harmonious outcome didn’t feel inevitable. It’s the result of the band members’ heavily revamped creative process and a rededication to the joy of working with each other.

I forgot I was in a band,” says drummer Sam Hendricks, who since the release of the group’s 2019 album Young Enough has become a father of two (children, obviously). “All I was listening to was Raffi.

So much was up in the air,” bassist Dan Shure adds, in understated bass player fashion. By the time Charly Bliss had finished touring behind Young Enough, their sophomore full-length, the group was exhausted. It took a little while for the excitement to begin working on the next album to bubble up.

It makes sense, then, that when Charly Bliss sat down to write new music, they started with a simple directive: “It has to be fun.” When the writing process began in 2020, the world was in the midst of, among other things, a fun deficit, the kind of endorphin drought that only a new Charly Bliss record could remedy. If you’ve ever seen the quartet live, you are familiar with the healing power of watching them tear through their set list while the crowd shouts along to every chorus.

Fun is our natural state,” says guitarist Spencer Fox. “No one has more fun than us and no one loves each other more than us.” On the road, the quartet spends all their time together “giggling and being stupid” (their words). Not surprising from a band made up of lifelong friends, including a pair of siblings. Eva describes the bond with her bandmates as “the biggest relationship of her life.

Still, the rigorous experience of recording, releasing, and touring Young Enough had left the band feeling creatively overcooked, the result of wanting everything about the record and shows to be perfect. It’s a feeling they were intent on shedding as they commenced work on their third LP. A pair of non-album singles (“I Need a New Boyfriend”, “You Don’t Even Know Me Anymore”) released last year had the band and their fans primed for a new full-length album.

Well, Charly Bliss is back, and they’re having more fun than ever.

While working on previous albums, CB had done their songwriting in a room together. But the Forever writing sessions began with Eva halfway across the planet in Australia, which would have made commuting for a more traditional writing session relatively time-intensive and cost-prohibitive. Ironically, the remote writing process brought the bandmates closer than ever. With no deadlines to hit or tour dates on the books, Fox, Shure, and the two Hendrices (pluralized like “matrix”) took their time generating new songs. With no ticking clock, the band felt free to explore and experiment.

Eva recorded demos on her phone while sitting in a parked rental car. Several time zones away, Sam jotted down ideas in the middle of the night. Unsurprisingly, the record is suffused with a sense of sleeplessness. The jittery feeling of new love. The raw insomnia brought on by heartache. The late nights spent out (or in) with friends new and old. The full-body cringe of remembering who you used to be and learning how to love that person. You know, the kind of big feelings that make it hard to shut your brain off. Front to back, the album plays like a love letter to love letters. It was all made possible by the band giving itself space to breathe, for the individuals who make up Charly Bliss to grow together despite the distance between them.

The sense of freedom and possibility extended to the recording sessions too. While the members of Charly Bliss were in sync with each other, they were also completely on the same page with producers Jake Luppen (Hippo Campus) and Caleb Wright (Samia). Producing the album with friends and peers helped the band trust their collaborators completely. It’s a brighter, poppier sound than the band has explored before, but it’s an evolution, not a departure. An evolution made possible by the time and trust that Charly Bliss invested in this record.

The results speak for themselves. Forever crams a lifetime of feeling, decades of friendship, and years of craft into a batch of sonically tight but emotionally vast songs that activate the pleasure centers in your brain whether you’re listening alone in your headphones or in a packed room at a live show. “Nineteen” and “Back There Now” offer hard proof that ballad vs. bop is a spectrum not a binary. “Waiting For You” and “Calling You Out” bounce propulsively along before bursting into classic Charly Bliss sing-along choruses. The songs shimmer and burst, the way fireworks look like they should sound.