Album Review: Raury - All We Need

As it stands, there are few acts out there capable of talking the talk like Raury.

Rating:

Raury acts like a loose cannon. The 19-year-old Atlantan wants to inspire a “revolution”, and he’s building an army of fans who declare him to be a genius, someone capable of inspiring radical change. Music was what turned him round, he claimed when announcing debut ‘All We Need’. “I used to legit dislike myself… Hate lived in me and I didn’t know why,” he tweeted. “One album turned all that anger I had into self belief.” And given the amount of confidence he carries today, Raury must have had a lot of hate building up inside.

There’s still a fire within, but his first full-length is a surprisingly subdued effort. If it’s the sound of revolution, it’s less all-guns-blazing, more Jeremy Corbyn politely knocking on the door of No.10. Last year’s introductory project ‘Indigo Child’ was a scattered beast, but it was assured in being chaotic. Raury seemed unhinged, brilliantly unpredictable and aware that everyone makes mistakes.

The strength of ‘All We Need’ is in how he filters the madness into a slick, easy-flowing record. If one album changed his life, he’s taken that knowledge to make something intentionally cohesive. ‘Peace Prevail’ and the RZA-featuring ‘CPU’ are hammock-ready daydreamers. ‘Crystal Express’ and ‘Devil’s Whisper’ are slicker, more tightly-wound than other songs, but they’re never threatening self-destruction. And everything’s threaded together with samples from a fictional, Smooth FM-style radio station. Like how Frank Ocean mastered the album format with ‘Channel Orange’, Raury is attempting similar masterstrokes.

As it stands, there are few acts out there capable of talking the talk like Raury. Like his first mixtape, ‘All We Need’ gives hints of superstardom without making the youngster’s case indisputable. It could be more unhinged, it could have been a chaotic, crazed mission statement - instead it’s further proof that Raury’s trade is in playing the unexpected hand.

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