It has only been one installment of this column since I last tackled jangle pop bands, but the undeniable appeal of artists who have mastered that beautiful guitar tone makes it impossible for me not to come back.

However, all three of these artists deploy their own unique brand of jangle pop to varying effect. The first group aims for an atmospheric shoegaze-style sound, the second has crafted a 21st-century Smiths vibe and the third couples the jingly sound with 70s-brand yacht rock. Jangle pop is a popular sound to aim for, but few bands illustrate the diversity of the genre better.


Described as "charmingly mopey" by Brooklyn Vegan, this quintet hails from Newark, Dela., not an area well known for its exquisite beauty. But you would be hard pressed to know that based on the absolutely gorgeous songs Fiancé are making.

The group recently released the song 'h.a.g.s', an ethereal beauty replete with twinkling guitars and sublime synth flourishes. The track follows up their first LP, a self-titled record released in February of this year. The group's back catalogue extends to April 2013 and nearly all of it is just remarkable. EP1, which was released in October 2014, opens with 'Era', a stunningly evocative tune packed with layered guitars and keys. Not much biographical information exists online about this group, but one can only hope we start to learn a lot more about Fiancé soon.

Cut Off Your Hands

This Auckland quartet had been off the radar for nearly five years before recently returning to play a show earlier this month. While no plans for further shows or new music have been announced, music fans should cross their fingers because Cut Off Your Hands were one of the most promising groups around several years ago.

The single 'You Should Do Better' from their 2011 album Hollow positioned them as the heirs apparent to The Smiths throne atop jangle pop. But the band wasn't just capable of moody mid-80s style music. Tracks like 'Still Fond' and 'Happy As Can Be' highlighted Cut Off Your Hands' ability to write strong, sturdy contemporary indie tracks. The band managed two albums and a litany of terrific tracks before this lengthy hiatus. Here's hoping the break is done and these promising New Zealanders can get back at it.

Travis Bretzer

Once he gets on a roll, Travis Bretzer works fast. A little over a year since releasing Waxing Romantic via Mexican Summer, Bretzer has announced his follow-up, Bitter Suites. While his newer material seems to be utilizing more keys and funky rhythms, Waxing Romantic made extensive use of jangly guitars.

Songs like 'Promises' and 'Lady Red' all highlight Bretzer's gift for melody and guitar craftsmanship. But unlike the previous two groups who draw from jangle pop's heyday in the '80s, Bretzer repurposed the formula to create a '70s-style sound. As more tracks trickle out from Bitter Suites, maybe his jangle guitars will reemerge. Here's hoping.