Brooks Thomas’ brings their R’n’B clash of styles at Mercury on 09.22

It can be difficult to add grit to R&B these days when the current trends rely on an intense devotion to the ethereal ambient music that is borderline new-age. But Brooks Thomas are determined to grind together sounds until they reach a satisfying balance on their latest album Poison. The use of live drums with surging synths and oddball instrumentation makes songs like “Fade to Black” wholly unsettling experiences. That’s not to say that there aren’t moments of clarity and pathos; the vocal harmonies on “Darkness” are sweet and melancholic as the lyrics paint a picture of unfulfilled desire, without sacrificing the dynamic collision of sounds that endlessly crawl under your skin. Poison will be released September 21, and the experimental R&B group will be playing a celebratory show the following day at Mercury Lounge. –Tucker Pennington