Quadron At Amoeba, Tuesday June 4th 2013
As someone who almost never listen to this kind of music, it must have been my R&B week: after the honey-voiced women of KING at the Bootleg on Monday, I got to see Quadron at Amoeba the following day. I don’t really think about soul and R&B music when I think about Danish music – actually I don’t know much about music from Denmark – yet, this is what the Danish duo (singer Coco O and musician/producer Robin Hannibal) have been doing since 2009.
They call their music electronic soul but I didn’t see much electronic, just a classic combination of bass-keys-drums and Coco’s sweet-bright voice, always at the top of the band’s blend of soul-R&B-jazz arrangements. I had discovered her clear and almost childish voice through their 2009 hit ‘Slippin’ which has always evoked for me some reinvention of Diana Ross and the Supremes without being a rehashed copy of the genre. This time, there was nothing that catchy (although it was the first time I was hearing the new songs), the music sounded more jazz-soul-influenced and Coco’s voice was running high, with a great ease over the soul-bouncing music, full of hard bass pounding. However, you have to be aware that she is not the next Adele (sorry, but she is the unavoidable reference when talking about R&B revival these days), this is not what Coco is looking for, there were no over-the-top big-lungs-out-screeches, no diva-like crooning, her breathy vocals were controlled and they stay all the time on the soft, adorable, sweet-as-honey side.
Backed up by four musicians from Los Angeles, the Coppenhagen native only sang 5 new songs off the freshly released album ‘Avalanche’, that she described as ‘a long road’, and an adventure that they think would not happen anymore. The result was a little old-fashioned, in the good sense of the term, and nevertheless very lively, especially the last song, ‘It’s Gonna Get You’ with its Jackson 5 vibe, Coco’s gentle but fierce spoken words, some ‘yeah? Yah!’ and finger-pointing.
There was a sort of ghost floating over many tracks, especially because of all these angelic humming back up voices, and the ghost become visible as Coco announced a song which was entitled ‘Neverland’,… Michael Jackson was obviously a big influence for her and that’s why my first Diana Ross impression was not that far away from Quadron’s reality.
So I wonder, with so many soul-R&B revival bands on the market, what are the chances for Quadron? First of all they had a sold out show at the Masonic lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery the next day, here in LA, then Kendrick Lamar contributes to ‘Better Off’, a new track of the album, and Coco O is featured on Jay-Z’s ‘the Great Gatsby’ soundtrack… then, so much for me for using the word old-fashioned a little earlier, the hip-hop-rap connection make Quadron well anchored in today’s hot music.