Exclaim!'s Best of 2013: Top 10 Soul and R&B Albums



5. Quadron
Avalanche
(Epic)

Between his work on Rhye's Woman and Quadron's Avalanche, Robin Hannibal has solidified himself as one of this year's MVPs — Most Valuable Producer. Teaming up once again with vocalist Coco Maja Hastrup Karshøj, the Danish duo polished up their icy, slick sound on this sophomore release, making them now a force in the worlds of both soul and pop.

Avalanche finds Quadron exploring Coco's soulful voice and its endless possibilities, from somber ballads ("Befriend") to grooving R&B numbers ("Better Off," featuring Kendrick Lamar). At their best, though, Quadron swirl all of these elements into one smooth sound that is fluid, effortless and infectious.

Quadron never strain themselves to compete with pop heavyweights; instead, they're content to ease into a perfect place of slow-jam greatness. It lures you in and never lets go, from the first sound of the horns on opener "LFT" to the last notes on the piano on the closing title track. A triumph of production by both members and a perfectly-constructed vessel to deliver Coco's velvety voice, Avalanche is a glossy snapshot of a project that is destined to continue ascending. (Melody Lau)