“Electronic Soul” is what Danish duo, Quadron have named their very unique sound. The pair, made up of singer Coco O and producer/musician Robin Hannibal, have released their sophomore album Avalanche to critical acclaim and even has high-profile rapper Kendrick Lamar featuring on one of their latest singles. Since the release of their self-titled debut album in 2009, they have been exceptionally well-received by audiences all around the world and can count the likes of Platinum-selling artists Adele and Raphael Saadiq as genuine fans.
Together, the duo are also part of electronic collective Boom Clap Bachelors and individually, Robin Hannibal is one-half of critically acclaimed duo Rhye, with Canadian electronic musician Michael Milosh while Coco is enjoying some success as a solo artist, having collaborated with Tyler, the creator and Chip the Rapper and also contributing to the Jay Z produced original soundtrack of The Great Gatsby.
Released back at the end of May via Vested In Culture/Epic Records and peaking at #3 on the Danish album charts, Avalanche was buoyed by its lead single “Hey Love” which featured on the last season of U.S hit drama Grey’s Anatomy. An up-tempo bass-heavy production is in full effect for this track and the instrumentation is skilfully arranged by Robin Hannibal. Largely making use of lush drum patterns and yearning humming vocal harmonies, the musical backdrop is very smooth and clean without a single note out of place and no unexpected surprises. “Hey Love” is a catchy tune that will definitely have you singing along and Coco’s infectious vocals make this an unforgettable song. Once you hear this song you won’t hesitate to share it as this feel good track is too good to keep to yourself.
“Favourite Star” on the other hand takes on an old school slow Disco style with an added Jazz vibe courtesy of its commanding horns and infectious strings section and a Duffy influence on Coco’s vocal delivery. When the chorus kicks in, the record takes on an 80’s soul groove to it, with the soft backing vocals that make “Favourite Star” reminiscent of that particular Disco era and time period. With lyrics like, “you keep on chasing what you never find, cos I’m still on your mind”, the subject matter is very much ‘about a boy’ who cannot find any fulfillment in any other women apart from Coco because they are not his “favourite star”. This song is great to unwind to and certainly shows the diversity in Quadron’s talents, for their new audiences.
“Neverland“, the duo’s own tribute to the late King of Pop Michael Jackson also has a vintage Jazz sound to it, not unlike “Favourite Star”, with Robin making clever use of horn arrangements and a variety of stringed instruments that transport the listener back a couple of decades. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Robin tells the story behind the track saying, “we created a third-person story about when people become impersonators to pay tribute to artists that are their idols because they are so obsessed with them“.
With lyrics like “not just another member of the fan club, his affection was a part of growing up.”, Coco and Robin painstakingly show the nature of people that are obsessed with an artist as they try to lose their identity and entire self in an idol. The song however does end on a wishful note, “we’ll meet in NeverLand”, left to interpretation as to whether this impersonator wishes to meet the Pop star on his infamour ranch or in another lifetime – an innovative way of honouring MJ, this song is one that you will have on repeat.
Other noteworthy songs to check out on the album include “Better Off” featuring Kendrick Lamar, a chilled buttery-smooth track which sees Kendrick tone down his usual rap style to accentuate this single exponentially and the head-nodder “LFT”, a flirty song with infectious guitar strums and soulful harmonies. All in all, this sophomore album from Quadron is worth buying if you want a modern day twist on 80’s Soul that Quadron are able to achieve without any faults whatsoever. The album on a whole is Soul with a polished finish, with producer Robin Hannibal experimenting with more varied sounds than on their debut album, leading to a very varied and more enjoyable listener experience for audiences – whether it’s making you sing along or making you slow down and relax with it, Avalanche is worth having and adding to your ‘Best of 2013″ playlist.
Purchase: Quadron – Avalance (iTunes)
Words by Halimat Shode // Edited by Ayo Adepoju