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They. Stand Out From the Pack With ‘Nu Religion: Hyena’

XL

Mind of a Genius Records / Warner Bros. Records
Mind of a Genius Records / Warner Bros. Records

It would be easy to draw comparisons to acts like The Weeknd or trap-soul superhero Bryson Tiller when trying to pin a style on the Los Angeles-based duo They., but a listen to their debut album, Nü Religion: Hyena, proves the singing-production duo of Drew and Dante are in their own grunge&B lane.

There are a bevy of influences on the album that come together like Voltron to create a unique style that carries the project into many directions while remaining focused and carefully crafted. This comes as no surprise, as the group pride themselves on letting the music “be what it’s supposed to be.”

At 14 tracks in length, the album, which was produced primarily by Dante, has previously released songs like “U-RITE” and “Silence,” plus other tracks off their EP like the nightlife anthems “Motley Crue” and “Bad Habits.” The duo ride high on crispy production as they navigate the love song lane with records like the Jodeci-tinged “All,” “Dante’s Creek” (complete with a chorus reminiscent of the 1990s TV show Dawson’s Creek), and “The Truth Be Told,” which is their side of a failed relationship story.

Over grungy guitars, “Say When” is one of the most real moments on the album, with bars aimed squarely at (problematic) law enforcement. “A lot of niggas have made songs about what the police/judicial system have done to my people but as we all know nothing changes,” they wrote on Instagram in regards to the track. The effort is the most bar-heavy on the album, with lines like: “Now shoot down my brothers and let em fall/and then we some thugs if we get involved/fuck you and ya system, you killin’ my niggas/and you think we about to just let you off?”

While they consider themselves outsiders at times, Dante and Drew are doing what many great artists before them have done: taking inspiration from everyone from Nirvana to the sounds of new jack swing to create their own.

In a sea of laid-back R&B with hip-hop-infused new school sounds, They. manage to stand out by keeping it a little more gully with some added 1990s swag for good measure. Nü Religion: Hyena delivers on all the hype they’ve built up over the last few years while exploring new spins on the current contemporary R&B wave.

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