Armchair Oracles, Caught by Light, Dreaming, jangle, Myths and Fables, Once and Always, Quiet Riots, The Bobbleheads, The High Strung, The Top Boost, Tripwire, Turn Around, Young Scum
That ringing in your ears? Yup. Jangle Thursday is back! Though this round does include a few bands not entirely dedicated to the genre, but that’s OK. We’ll focus on the jangle but rest assured their other efforts are also the highest quality poprock.
Only four of the twelve tracks from The Bobbleheads new long-player Myths and Fables might be considered jangle but, man, everything here is still worth your attention. The hooks in these songs are ‘outasight’. Opening track “Like Oxygen” cranks up the jangle at the start but dims the sparkle a bit as the song’s swinging melody kicks in. Other jangle highlights include minor-chord heavy “Holding On,” the band’s tribute to Canadian songstress “Anne Murray,” and “Feel This Way” and “Afternoon,” both with great trebly lead lines. But check out other killer cuts here like “Listen You Know,” “Do You” and “Become One.” Between the jangle and the amazing 1980s indie feel, Myths and Fables is like a great lost early-to-mid period R.E.M. record.
Norway’s Armchair Oracles have been compared to all the big ‘B’ bands i.e. Big Star, Badfinger and the Beatles. I can hear all that but there also seems to be hint of 1980s Moody Blues and the Alan Parson Project, particularly on some of the vocals. On the whole, Caught By Light has a nice buzzy undercurrent that allows the jangle to stand out on tracks like “Porcelain Heart,” “All My Time” and “Don’t Let It Break You.” But I also really like the slower tempo acoustic vibe on “Several Stories” and “Downsized Life.” You can really hear the late-period-Beatles Harrison guitar influence on the album closer “The Last of All Suns.” Beatlemaniacs be warned – this album is full of triggers!
A quick review of The Top Boost’s 2016 release Turn Around reminds us these boys know their way around treble-heavy guitars with uber jangle-heavy tracks like “What If She Loves You.” The new EP Dreaming shows they have lost none of their jangle chops. Title track “Dreaming” has ringing guitars all over the verses that work in tension with a wall of ‘ah’-ing background vocals in the chorus. “I’ll Be There” is another great contribution that melds 1960s and 1970s pop influences, with a simple but seductive guitar lead line that would make a Beatles For Sale-era George Harrison proud. Damn, these guys know their late 1960s sunshine poprock!
Ok, time for a lightning round of songs that exhibit some quality jangle to finish things off. Like Young Scum’s “Wasted Time” from their self-titled 2018 release. The Morrissey/Smiths comparisons are unavoidable. The vocals are very Morrissey minus a bit of the mope (if that is possible) but the guitars sound pretty Johnny Marr, a man who did much to resurrect jangle in British rock and roll in the mid-1980s. Detroit’s The High Strung have a great new poprock record with Quiet Riots, though little of it works the jangle seam – except “Summer of Night,” a track located somewhere on the jangle spectrum between Dylan and the Byrds in terms of an acoustic and electric mix. Last up on the jangle playlist is a track from the new Tripwire album, Once and Always, entitled “Act Fast.” Again, R.E.M. comparisons are hard to avoid, particularly on this jangle-heavy, vocal harmony-drenched hookster. But as with the other recommendations, you may come to this record for the jangle, but you’ll stay for the superior songcraft and performance.
The Bobbleheads, Armchair Oracles, The Top Boost, Young Scum, The High Strung and Tripwire need to know who loves jangle. Click on the links to show you care.