New Music Review: Jarv - The Boiler Room

>> You learn a lot from a quick scan of Jarv’s BandCamp page. Jarv is a rapper from Windsor, Vermont. He calls himself “a Large R-tard.” And he’s not afraid to self-release a 21 track project spanning a full hour and fifteen minutes.

The Boiler Room, a collaborative album with producer ThiefofBaghdad on the breaks sees Jarv spit nothing but quick wit and innuendos for the project’s entirety. Aesthetically, the record features various flavors of boom-bap, with Thief’s instrumentals carrying a high energy that Jarv capitalizes on throughout with his dizzyingly fast flow. On tracks like “Commercial” and “Basics” Jarv openly challenges new-age rappers to quit acting like props selling a flashy lifestyle and get back to the basic forms of hip-hop: “a beat and a rhyme for these MCs faking.” A tenant Jarv takes to heart on the stand out track “Flossin.” Here, laced with a dreamy “Muzak” flip, Jarv displays his talent with wordplay, unraveling a tall-tale of his experience going to the dentist. Between feeling anxious in the waiting room, perusing the coffee table magazines, and dreading the hooks that scan your gum lines, Jarv delivers a poetic rendition of a relatable and uncomfortable situation. Obviously, Jarv can rap. Unfortunately, not all the tracks on The Boiler Room are as admittedly creative.

For instance, the song “Hot Yoga” carries a light-hearted confidence akin to the swagger of a high school senior skating through his hometown, filled with delusions of grandeur and getting laid at Johnny’s kegger later. Thief’s beat is hypnotically catchy, and Jarv does good work keeping up with the fat bass and Wurlitzer chops, but it’s clear he thinks Hot Yoga is something more than being deliriously sweaty and tired inside a spiritual sauna. Maybe “Hot” is an adjective describing the Windsor moms stretching in the park on Sundays. Another song, “Flat-top” features Jarv toting a curiously accented voice as he metaphorically addresses Windsor High School’s senior prom, inviting the ladies “to get down.” The track comes off as a weak attempt at making a hot single for the club, but it becomes overbearingly whack when Jarv chants, “I wish that I could grow a flat-top, a flat-top fade," expressing his desire to look "cool" and pull off the flat-top haircut.

But Jarv shouldn’t need any of those gimmicks to convince you he’s studied hip-hop and can command a microphone. The Boiler Room’s single, “Slack-Jaw” made its rounds through various new music blogs because of Jarv’s stellar delivery. On this track especially the MC demonstrates his handful of styles, from razor sharp one-liners to tongue splitting paragraphs compacted in a single bar. It’s hard to put Jarv in a box, as he manages to lace Thief’s beats with technically proficient rhymes on almost every track. It’s the development of his content that could use some refinement. He could also consider slowing down occasionally to provide more contrasts throughout. Overall, The Boiler Room is a 21track album whose length could seem daunting to a new listener, but Jarv and Thief manage to deliver a solid album sprinkled with dope tracks throughout. <<

Feel free to listen to Jarv here: