Like comic book movies, r&b has been moving in an increasingly dark direction. Whether its the nihilism of the the Weeknd or the delicate lo-fi melancholy of How To Dress Well, the genre known for baby-making has been more interested in pain as of late.

Enter Active Child, the project of Pat Grossi, a harpist with a strong falsetto and a fondness for '90s divas like Brandy and Monica (whom he borrows from for "Hanging On"). Sonically, his music is electro-pop, but his vocals owe everything to soul. Listen to "Playing House," his duet with How To Dress Well, for evidence of the R. Kelly heights both aspire to. At their best, they get there. 

Active Child plays with synth act Com Truise in Tucson Tuesday, and tickets are cheap. 

Active Child
with Com Truise
Tuesday, August 30
9 p.m.
Solar Culture Gallery
31 East Toole Ave., Tucson, Ariz.
Tickets $7 (at the door)