Review: Quadron Perfects Electronic Soul On ‘Avalanche’ LP

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/ June 4, 2013

Danish duo Quadron master blissful, electronically charged soul on Avalanche

Last year, a video circulated where Coco O of electro-soul duo Quadron belts out Lauryn Hill’s delicately tortured classic “Ex-Factor” while seated outdoors in Vienna. Flanked by her group mate (producer Robin Hannibal) and few bangs on a café table, Coco delivers a rendition of L-Boogie’s that’s so passionate, so smooth, that’d you’d think she’d dated Wyclef herself. It was a dimension to Coco’s vocals rarely heard on Quadron’s 2010 self-titled debut LP, an effort that leaned on electronic aesthetics hugged by simple vocals, with only sparse helpings of soul. Since then, Quadron have become a hidden gem to the mainstream that hip-hop has already embraced, having collaborated with Chip The Ripper and Odd Future leader Tyler, the Creator. Quadron’s follow-up LP Avalanche hones in on true soulfulness—they’ve refined their sound, stuck to one trajectory, and the results are oh-so wonderful.

What Avalanche lacks in length—it ceases at an efficient 10 tracks—it makes up for in style. The opener “LFT” is an ideal entry, as Coco’s sultry vocals glide over ’80s-inspired production on the hot pursuit of “LFT” (an acronym for “looking for trouble”). The simmering hums and ricocheting drums on lead single “Hey Love” set up charged lyrics involving Coco insisting that she’s “the one.” Meanwhile, “Crush” takes things down a few notches, where the tone changes from the previous track’s aggression to subdued moans of impatience. Coco’s chops are really exposed when the production is stripped down; on “Befriend” and the title track, Hannibal crafts beautifully simplistic sound beds for his female counterpart to recline.

Kendrick Lamar is the album’s sole feature, on the breezy anti-love song “Better Off.” Here, Coco’s breathy vocals set up K Dot’s spoken-word style delivery, as he uses romance as the bait to change his love interest’s mind. If there’s one critique to be offered, it’s that Avalanche is predominantly mid-tempo tracks. The mood rarely changes, save for cuts like “It’s Gonna Get You” and the funky “Favorite Star,” though they too find a slower groove upon their descent.

There is an obvious growth apparent in Quadron’s second album Avalanche. Here is a project meant to rock from start to finish—especially during chill moments. For those looking for something a little more hyper, just wait for the remixes. In the meantime, Quadron are on a mission to take over soul music, one glorious tune at a time. —Kathy Iandoli