Arts album review

Summer sounds of Danish electronic soul

Quadron’s sophomore album reaches out to mainstream audience

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Album cover art of Avalanche.
Courtesy of Epic Records




Vested in Culture/Epic Records

Released June 4, 2013

This year ought to be a milestone for Robin Hannibal. Just earlier this year, he and Mike Milosh released a spectacularly sensual album Woman under the artistic moniker Rhye, which swept the critics and the fans off of their feet. Now, only a few months later, he reunites with Coco O, the second half of his well-established musical project Quadron, to release their sophomore album Avalanche and set the ground for this summer’s music scene.

While Rhye immediately caught the mainstream public’s eye and received deserved praise, Quadron remained somewhat concealed after the release of their eponymous debut album. Released in 2009, Quadron was a breath of fresh air for the music industry — with Coco O’s soulful vocals and Hannibal’s unprecedented production skills, the 12 pop-flavored electronic soul tracks from that album possessed everything that most contemporary one-time hit songs lack: playfulness, originality, clever lyrics and memorable, sophisticated melodies. However, Quadron did receive enough attention to accumulate a fan base, and their album made a highly overlooked and underrated entrance to the music scene.

Fortunately, their sophomore album Avalanche brings the duo back with a boom. The 10 new tracks exhibit slightly different productions, which seem to be more mainstream-oriented and less experimental than those present on Quadron. This is most obvious on the track “Hey Love,” a pop single that’s rhythmically very definitive and easily comparable to the catchy singles of similar present soul divas, like Duffy and Adele. This single (and its lovable music video) will probably be the key to Quadron’s future major breakthrough, but it might overshadow some of the divine slower-dance jams on Avalanche. Some of them are “LFT” and “Favorite Star,” the two upbeat jazz-inspired tracks that should become necessities on every small-party music list.

The second half of the album goes back to the basics and revives some of the Quadron’s older tunes. The spiraling narratives “Befriend” and “Crush” expose Quadron’s trademark musical warmth and vocal vulnerability, while “Neverland” manages to retrieve the most of old Quadron by reinstating the gradients of hypnotizing multi-layered vocals, fusions of lull and energizing beats, all bolstered by heartbreaking brass tunes. “Better Off,” a collaboration with the rapper Kendrick Lamar, is an ambitious and overall quite successful attempt at enriching Quadron’s heavily soul-centered style with other genres, which shows that the duo still has a lot of potential under the ground waiting to be released.

Avalanche will hopefully be the top-chart luster in Quadron’s career, because Hannibal and Coco O deserve to have their modest and charming talents recognized by the mainstream public. Yeah, any Quadron fan would feel more special if they remained the understated, underground-ruling gems of Denmark, but with all the Ke$has and Rihannas constantly lingering on MTV’s Top 20, the mainstream needs to know that there are still high-quality music makers out there.

Highlight tracks: “LFT,” “Favorite Star,” “Hey Love,” ”Neverland,” “Better Off (feat. Kendrick Lamar)”