The Copenhagen, Denmark, duo Quadron is proof that American soul music has found acolytes in the unlikeliest of places. In fact, European soul has flowered for many years, often finding a global underground audience through Gilles Peterson's BBC broadcasts and sundry compilations. It's this world -- where soul, funk, R&B and contemporary jazz intermingle freely with downtempo, broken beat and other electronic-centered styles -- that Quadron emerged from in the late 2000s via the Copenhagen arts collective Boom Clap Bachelors. As their 2010 self-titled debut broke out of the indie-soul ghetto, it found its way into the hands of L.A. influencers like the Odd Future collective, and then Kendrick Lamar's Top Dawg Entertainment camp.
Now, musician-producer Robin Hannibal and singer Coco "O" Karshøj may be better known for their side projects. Rhye, pairing Hannibal and Canadian artist Milosh, took Hannibal to the upper reaches of the U.S. album charts. Coco O. landed a track on the best-selling Great Gatsby soundtrack. All this extracurricular activity led Quadron's second album, Avalanche, to be overlooked when it hit stores in June. But it's worth a listen, and not just because the two musicians are clearly in their prime, whether together or apart. Perhaps inspired by his Rhye work, Hannibal's arrangements are more baroque than Quadron's jaunty electronic riffs on retro soul and nu funk. Coco O adopts a different approach, too, bypassing Quadron's spirited exploration of friendship, self-esteem and body-image issues, and focusing on the emotional demands of love.
"How soon will I get to know if dreaming of you is wasting my time?" sings Coco O. on "Crush." On "Lft" she's ready to hit the town, announcing that she's "still looking for trouble." "C'mon girls!" she sings. The rest of the world should follow her.