To start off, I want to say that Coco O has one of the most beautiful singing voices I have ever heard. I could listen to her read the McDonald’s dollar menu and find it riveting. Coco O and Robin Hannibal make up the Danish duo Quadron, with Hannibal handling the production. Given their start back in 2009, they’re still relatively new and, to my knowledge, not very well known here in the states (though they have a few prominent fans including Prince and Pharrell). Hopefully, their second album ‘Avalanche’ will change that.
Coco O has this sort of lucid-dream thing going on when she sings. Her style has a lot of elasticity to it; I’m sometimes reminded of Amy Winehouse when I hear her. Other times, I think of someone like Lauryn Hill. This mix works well for Robin Hannibal’s versatility on production. A lot of variety is contained in the ten tracks on ‘Avalanche.’ There’s pop, ballads, a touch of neo-soul, and jazz influences at play here. No matter where Hannibal takes it with his keen ear and attention to detail, Coco’s singing never seems out of place. Each song has a meticulous, almost cautious quality that you don’t hear from your more popular singer/producer duo’s like Gnarls Barkley or La Roux. Many other acts with the same configuration get by on having a “personal touch” represented by way of their imperfections or risks. Quadron does not seem to fool around with any of that. ‘Avalanche’ and their self-titled debut are pretty much polished to perfection. Maybe it is alienating to a degree, but as long as it sounds good (which it does) it shouldn’t be held against them.
“LFT” (Looking For Trouble) makes a strong case for both Hannibal and Coco O and their attention to detail with their respective contributions. Listening to Coco’s voice glide across the horns and bass guitar, I knew I was in for a treat, and by my personal favorite track, “Favorite Star,” I was already convinced that ‘Avalanche’ was the real deal. None of this is phoned in in terms of sound. The lyrics in these songs are basic at times; perhaps that’s what other acts of this type have over Quadron. While her lyrics may not be as interesting as others’, Coco is able to do some amazing things while singing them. I was very surprised with“Better Off,” featuring, in my opinion, the hip-hop artist of last year Kendrick Lamar. It’s at least the one song that is very strong from a lyrical standpoint. It was very well done and didn’t seem out of place, even though he’s the only featured artist on this album.
All in all, the lyric thing isn’t even all that bothersome. It lends itself to the easy-listening nature of ‘Avalanche.’ It doesn’t challenge, it just entertains. I have already listened to this one about a dozen times since its release and can easily see myself playing it many more times in the future. I really can listen to Coco O sing anything. I’m not kidding.