Since first appearing on our radar last November, Los Angeles’ King avriel has cast an intriguing shadow in the alternative R&B realm. In comparison to some of her peers, avriel’s lyrics possess an almost rap-like directness, replacing abstraction with blunt, often observational and narrative songwriting.

avriel’s debut album thesis is a cutting, honest portrait of youthful abandon and isolation, a sharply written and ambitiously produced examination of the psychological burdens navigated by an acutely aware author. Illuminated by an accompanying digital booklet (which explains each song in almost exhaustive detail), thesis has a conceptual focus uncommon of current albums in almost any genre—drawing clear inspiration from one of avriel’s cited influences, Kendrick Lamar.

While occasionally weighted down by its lofty, earnest aims, thesis never sacrifices compelling structure and texture in favor of strict adherence to story (another trick learned from Kendrick’s concertedly sprawling good kid, m.A.A.d city). A complete thought from a promising, insightful voice.

(Dazed)