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TRUST CEREMONY Scratches My Brain In The Best Way

My first ever Jhariah song was “Flight of the Crows” back in 2021, when I was finishing up my pandemic-lockdown-anime-phase. That song was used online in countless edits for whatever show was trending at the time, and currently has over 15 million streams on Spotify. Jhariah somehow fell out of my loop until earlier this year when I was scrolling through the New Music Friday playlist and stumbled upon “PIN-EYE.” I was immediately drawn into the exciting sound of horns and Jhariah’s strong vocals, and decided that I needed to see him live. Lucky for me, he was opening for Pinkshift in Asbury Park the very next day. The next day I drove 2 hours after class to one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. 

Jhariah Clare, via by Holly Van Ness

Who is Jhariah?

Jhariah Clare (he/they) is a musician, illustrator, and animator from New York City. He is known for his convoluted and undefinable music style, and his motto is, “No Genre, All Drama.” They have cited Gerard Way, The Dresden Dolls, Panic! At The Disco, and so many more artists as inspiration and take notes from jazz, rap, and rock. 

Before breaking into mainstream music, Jhariah released snippets of songs on his YouTube Channel. They studied 2D animation at the Brooklyn campus of the Pratt Institute and it was there that they learned artistic techniques that were used to create some of their album and singles’ covers. In 2020, Jhariah released their first single that gained significant traction, “Needed a Change of Pace,” and accredited this success to virality on TikTok. 

In 2023, Jhariah and his music really started to pick up. He collaborated with Baltimore punk band Pinkshift with “EAT YOUR FRIENDS” and later joined the band on a collaborative tour. 

With their band, who they refer to as Jhariah Band, Jhariah just finished up a headlining tour with special guests Piao, Yasmin Nur, Save Face, and Pollyanna. Jhariah and his band visited 27 different cities, starting in Pittsburgh and ending in Philadelphia. “...this is the most shows we’ve ever sold out on one tour, thank you for showing out in such a big way on this run…it’s still surreal to me because it wasn’t long ago when we’d leave for tour and I would sit up at night wondering if anyone will come,” Jhariah writes on Twitter. 

While Jhariah is a multifaceted, extremely talented individual, I would like to also give credit to his touring band. Caco (he/they) is behind those epic saxophone solos, Eden (he/they) shreds the guitar, Ray (they/them) hops on bass guitar, and Bree (she/they) is on drums. Together, the five of them put on an amazing show. 

Jhariah (right) and Caco (left), via Holly Van Ness

A big part of Jhariah’s success is due to his fans. Jhariah constantly shows his appreciation and gratefulness towards his fans and can be seen interacting with them on social media. Majority of his fans, from what I can see, are part of the queer community, and it warms my heart that they have someone like Jhariah to look up to.

The New Album

On Friday, April 19th, Jhariah released TRUST CEREMONY, their second full-length album. I had the chance to give it a listen and I’m super excited to be able to share my honest review! 

TRUST CEREMONY opens with “TOOTH PACT,” the song that inspired the name for his latest tour. The song begins with what sounds like a gong being hit before breaking out into sheer chaos in the best way possible. The horns are immediately strong and we get about a minute of intense instrumentals before Jhariah starts singing. Most of his vocals are low until the end of the song when they erupt with high-notes and strength, following the tempo of the instrumentals. 

Next is “BIGSHOT,” a song that is clearly filled with annoyance towards someone. You can practically see Jhariah rolling his eyes as he sings the lyrics. This is a high-energy song that I could see being an awesome song to use in trends online. “FIRE4FUN” is a very electronic song that seems to take inspiration from old video games. Jhariah’s use of autotune seems purposeful, and adds to the digital vibes on the song. I can’t help but wonder if Jhariah is going to perform this song live.

via Holly Van Ness

RISK, RISK, RISK!” is like a modern take on fast-tempo jazz. It incorporates horns, electric guitars, and elements from swing with rhythmic passes that make me want to spin around the room. 

When listening to “COLLARBONE” I was expecting a high-energy, upbeat song like the other tracks on the album so far. I was very surprised when the 50 second song slowed down to something akin to a gospel. Their vocals are layered beautifully, creating depth and echoing as if their voice was reaching the ceiling of a thousand year old church. I hear background vocals that support Jhariah, and all in all, this is a very emotional and raw track. 

Next is “PIN-EYE,” the iconic song that put Jhariah on my radar again. The song was released as a single back in January, and the bridge is probably my favorite part of the album. The lyrics, “Oh, why do I beg my legs to take me / Much farther than they were meant to?” repeats, each time with more and more emotion until Jhariah is belting the words with raw vulnerability. 

MAYBE LATER DANCE” steps away from the electronic, jazzy vibes that most of the tracks embody, and sounds much more like a surf-rock track. This song is extremely fun and the chorus is filled, once again, with Jhariah’s powerful vocals. “CONTROL BABY” is another jazzy, gospel-like song with layered vocals and belting. “EAT YOUR FRIENDS” was previously released with Pinkshift. 

RE: CONCERNS” and “SASUKE” are extremely fitting for the opening or closing of an anime (new goal: get Jhariah to make an opening song for an anime ASAP!) In “RUSSIAN DOLL,” Jhariah hits some insane high notes that made my jaw drop. 

The album finished with “TRUST CEREMONY,” presumably the song that named the album. The lyrics, “These insatiable aspirations make me whole / ‘Someday’ keeps me warm when the present gets too cold,” will forever be imprinted on my brain. They end the album with some very poignant advice. “No one can make you stay,” they sing in the closing song. Basically; do what makes you happy. 

“This record has taught me who I am and who I want to be. It’s inspired me to be brave at every opportunity that life gives me. It will always serve as a reminder of how much I am capable of. To show up each and every day for myself and for the people I love,” Jhariah writes on Twitter in response to the new album. Do yourself a favor, and listen to TRUST CEREMONY now!

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