LIVE: Charly Bliss @ Deaf Institute, Manchester

By Tom Walsh

Upon the release of their sophomore record ‘Young Enough’, Charly Bliss lead singer Eva Hendricks was asked about the sudden departure from their indie rock sound. Hendricks explained that they didn’t want to stick to a specific genre and were happy to follow their creativity with each record.

What it has culminated in is a band of immense range that create a beautifully eclectic live show. Despite its initial facade of a typical dive bar with great vegan food, Manchester’s Deaf Institute is hiding a little secret. Upstairs is a unique gig space with a skylight roof and one of the biggest disco balls you’ll ever see.

It is a setting befitting Charly Bliss’ performance, which is an excellent juxtaposition of ultimately sad songs wrapped up in uplifting pop melodies. There is pain coursing through the lyrics of a lot of the New York four-piece’s output but Hendricks sees it as a more cathartic experience and something which she can celebrate with a room full of friends.

The new sound of ‘Young Enough’ is demonstrated expertly with your new favourite pop classic of opener ‘Capacity’. Hendricks, dressed as Tinkerbell for the evening, leaps around the stage injecting a huge dollop of energy into every melodic line while the almost creamy sounding solos from guitarist Spencer Fox is like having honey poured into your ear.

As the chat is kept to a minimum, they let the music do the talking with an airing of new track ‘Supermoon’ from its namesake EP released in October. Switching between instruments, Hendricks takes charge of synths during the stomping ‘Blown to Bits’ while she hops back on guitar for ‘Camera’.

Prior to ‘Heaven’, she takes a moment to explain that this was one of the few legitimate love songs she has ever written for Charly Bliss. Where things have changed in Hendricks life, this song has taken on a new meaning as she now feels the warmth and love of a roomful of fans when she gets to play it every night. It is a poignant admission that can’t help bring a smile to your face and is followed up with the full throttled punk rock rager of ‘Under You’.

The closing duo of ‘Young Enough’ and ‘Chatroom’ distill the essence of Charly Bliss down into ten perfect minutes. The former is a heart-wrenching tales of the tragedy of failing young love, a powerful ballad-esque track to make you wonder if you have something in your eye. The latter, however, is a delightful intensely poppy sing-a-long with a snotty sneer of “I’m not going to take you home, I’m not going to save you”.

Charly Bliss’ refusal to be pigeonholed and their talent for letting their sound transcend genres has provided beautifully eclectic records and is only complimented by wonderfully fun live shows.