R&B chameleons They. borrow from scattered pop sources in their quest to get to the top | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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R&B chameleons They. borrow from scattered pop sources in their quest to get to the top

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Blog posts about rising LA R&B duo They. tend to reference the genre they label themselves with on some of their Soundcloud uploads—“grunge&b.”—but otherwise describe them in quite different ways. That reflects producer Dante Jones and singer Drew Love’s chameleonic songwriting history as much as it does their marketing: before teaming up, Love wrote with Jeremih, while Jones worked on projects for Nickelodeon and got a Grammy for his contributions to Kelly Clarkson’s “Mr. Know It All.” But though Jones and Love appear almost as eager to name-check Taking Back Sunday and Fall Out Boy as interviewers are to bring up the duo’s affection for less conventional influences, They. excel simply because their songs fit right into the burgoo of contemporary R&B and hip-hop. Sure, they might sample Nirvana’s “Polly” on “Rather Die,” but that single bears more resemblance to the work of ax-wielding R&B lothario Miguel. With their recent debut full-length Nu Religion: Hyena (Mind of a Genius/Warner) They. blend pop sounds with the same goal as generations of R&B artists before them: creating the ultimate aphrodisiac.   v

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