A year on from the release of his EP mixtape ‘Indigo Child,’ Raury’s debut album ‘All We Need’ appears to be a more polished, more influential, and of a more mature style. Having kept the jumble of influences that featured on his EP, the album features a mix of soul and folk music amongst electronic sounds, but with a mix of both singing and rap, it is debatable that this album will appeal to everyone.
The support and management of Columbia Records (Adele, One Direction, John Legend) has clearly been a fantastic foundation for Raury to write songs upon. The single ‘Friends’ features an upbeat rhythm, with a great pulsing bass guitar alongside beautiful chordal extensions in the electric guitar in the chorus. ‘Crystal Express’ creates the sense of a less rhythmically intense version of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Master Blaster,’ albeit more melodic, whilst ‘Mama,’ a warming tribute to his own mother, is reminiscent of the first portion of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in style. However, ‘All We Need,’ and ‘Revolution’ both have the same acoustic guitar idea which, sadly, sounds repetitive and underlines a similarity within both songs.
Nonetheless, all of Raury’s songs aren’t fast and upbeat, as proven in ‘CPU’ and ‘Her’ with piano lines clearly influenced from the likes of Bon Iver’s ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’. Furthermore, neither are all singing, with rap songs including ‘Peace Prevail’ and ‘Forbidden Knowledge.’ The latter, featuring Big K.R.I.T, is the highlight of these on the album, a rousing rap about racism in modern society. Though Big K.R.I.T almost steals the show from Raury with the last verse, and some of the lyrics are confusing – “There’s a universe in her afro, hold us back though” – this is still a very powerful song with a rap style similar to Kanye West, understandable that he is cited as one of Raury’s influences.
The various different styles Raury crams into his album can confuse and put many people off, but many of the songs are well written, and there are very few misses on this album. It’s clear to see why Raury was shortlisted for BBC’s Sound of 2015, so watch this space – ‘All We Need’ may just take off next year.