Caws for Applause: a Listen to Jhariah’s “Flight of the Crows”
In my journey as a DIY musician, I’ve had the privilege to meet and befriend some of the most talented, unique, and innovative artists along the way. I first encountered Jhariah when my pals at Chillwavve Records suggested him for my 23rd birthday livestream. Even though I had to celebrate in isolation playing music with my partner, I felt so surrounded by love and talent that night, even though all of us were in our respective apartments, hundreds of miles apart, singing to one another through our laptops. I chose to continue pursuing music as a life path because of that feeling. The feeling of solidarity and kinship that I’ve only felt through truly amazing shows. In so many ways, Jhariah has inspired me to keep pushing through during a time where that feeling is so fleeting. Jhariah is not only an incredibly talented musician, he is also an incredible artist, animator, and content creator. He also makes some of my favorite music.
Hardcore theater-kid (regrets abound) emos like me enthusiastically debate the musical trajectories of P!ATD and MCR. I would argue that Jhariah returns to and improves upon the absolute best aspects of albums like Vices and Virtues, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, and The Black Parade. In The Great Tale of How I Ruined it All and To Mend The Sun, Jhariah found a sonic footing and experimented with huge arrangements and musical theatrics. Recently, his singles have become more elaborate, unhinged, and sonically delicious. Debt Collector was released with both a single version and a “Anime OP Edit”. There’s never a lack of detail and perfectly over-the-top goodness in Jhariah’s music and I find myself hearing new things every time I listen.
Here I am, two paragraphs into this review and I haven’t even STARTED talking about the new single which is mind-blowing in all the best ways. “Flight of the Crows” is a whirlwind. In the opening moments, we hear Jhariah launch a lamenting and tempestuous vocal plea. This song comes straight out of the gate with Jhariah and producer/engineer Cole Raser’s trademark chaos. Storytelling is a locus for “Flight of the Crows” and when paired with powerhouse vocals, it compels you to listen and live the story over and over and over again. I probably listened over 20 times while writing and never got tired of the song.
“Flight of the Crows” is sectional and texturally enthralling. Opening with a lush, complex drum shuffle paired with quietly wailing strings, reverse piano, and refreshing ukulele strums, the song then blooms into an early P!ATD-reminiscent, horn-heavy, lounge jam before swooping back into the tumultuous beat. The counter-melodic bassline has a wonderful, thick tone that provides continuity and stability. My favorite moment, which gives me chills every time, comes about halfway into “Crows”. Suddenly, we are swept into a wistful bridge evocative of Mitski, or maybe early St. Vincent. There are whisper-soft choral lines and hard-panned percussive hits that create a special kind of emotional whiplash that one can then ruminate upon in a well-placed instrumental break. Execution in this song is everything. I feel like it’s rare to hear a song THIS well-constructed. At only 2:40, it’s a remarkably short song, but it has wholeness created by perfect sectional bookending. We travel to so many places while listening, but they all make sense.
All in all, the level of musicianship showcased on “Flight of the Crows” is beyond masterful. The mix is excellent, especially the use of panning. String arrangements, horn arrangements, flitting synths — every single element is well-executed. I’ve heard artists with ten times the budget of Jhariah and Cole that sound less than half as incredible. I’m excited to see what comes next. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of praise (and pay!!). Much love, Jhariah, and thank you for making my new favorite song.
LISTEN TO FLIGHT OF THE CROWS NOW: https://open.spotify.com/track/1WH7IZRRD0eU9TCdcTA11z?si=emP7qE1FTpCujIrQFTEmKg&nd=1
You can (and SHOULD) listen to and purchase Jhariah’s music on Bandcamp here: https://jhariah.bandcamp.com/
Links to stream/support Jhariah are here: https://linktr.ee/jhariahclare