ATLANTA — In June, on the day Raury turned 18, he woke up earlyish and went to the aquarium here with an old friend for a low-key afternoon. He’d just graduated from high school, but this night was the real cause for celebration — a concert he’d been planning for months. He called it Raurfest.
It was an ambitious name for his first proper headlining performance, but Raury’s taste for the epic is among his most appealing characteristics. So that night, in a gallery space/abandoned industrial building near downtown, a dinner was organized in his honor, followed by a show under the stars.
Yesterday, Raury released his first album, “Indigo Child” — free online at indigochildproject.com, though he is signed to Columbia. It is, for the most part, an astonishingly assured debut, full of multipart songs teeming with deeply felt ideas. He has an easy way with melody but also a consistently grand-scaled sense of theater, which makes for music that’s intimate and imposing all at once.
“I want it to sound like a World War III benefit concert,” he joked.
“God’s Whisper,” his breakthrough song, is like anarchic gospel, with a hollow stomp that could almost be borrowed from Mumford & Sons. “Cigarette Song” owes at least some of its silken attitude to Terence Trent D’Arby. Elsewhere, there are shades of Kid Cudi, Outkast and MGMT.