Charly Bliss prove fun is essential with Young Enough

Young EnoughThe general consensus is that Young Enough - the new album from Brooklyn-based band Charly Bliss - is "important", an "ecstatic triumph" and "liberating". Born out of bad relationships and growing pains, the 11 short songs come in at under 40 minutes, but that's the only major nod to their punk rock routes.

If debut album Guppy was a hyperactive explosion of teenage angst, adrenaline and alcopop-induced vomit; Young Enough is a hangover pickled with guilty thoughts, anxiety and synth. The band's pulsating bass is still present but the album is made into a bombastic pop record thanks to super slick production from Joe Chiccarelli. He's previously worked with The Shins and My Morning Jacket - not exactly an obvious choice for a band whose best known song boasts, "I bounced so high, I peed the trampoline." Combined with more grownup lyrics, Charly Bliss are unlikely to crack a smile with Young Enough, and they've so far relied on that asset to charm their audience.

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Throwing out any kind of security blanket takes balls, and unfortunately this time the results are disappointing. Ordinarily musical progression is a great thing that yields interesting results, but not so with Young Enough. During their move away from bouncy Letters to Cleo-esque pop, BC have thrown fun right out the truck window. What's left is a bit of a damp squib that's more akin to No Doubt cerca Rock Steady than Kay Gibbons et al - it sounds kind of hollow but more importantly it's boring.

There are a few saving graces. "Capacity" is a great lead single because it best resembles Charly Bliss pre-2019, complete with tongue in cheek lyrics and a catchy vocal bridge; "Chatroom" also taunts listeners with sarcastic glee. Of the previously unreleased tracks, "Hard to Believe" closely follows punk rock tradition, but it's still lacking whatever would require a repeat listen.

The obvious argument is that fans can't expect bands to stay the same forever, but hear us out: when musicians move on, it's usually in search of greater things. Charly Bliss probably meant for Young Enough to sound like a coming of age record, and certainly critics elsewhere can hear that. Not us. Who you agree with is up to you, but we'd recommend approaching with caution.

Release: 10th May 2019, Lucky Number
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