I wasn’t quite ready for the retro rewind I was about to embark on when I was presented with Korine’s work. As soon as I started digging through their discography I was immediately transported to a 1987 shopping mall with my favorite walkman blasting my favorite mixtape. Somewhere in the shadows of New Wave twisted through the more modern sounds of Darkwave you’ll find the sounds of Korine.
This Philadelphia, PA, based duo combines layered synthesizer melodies with steady movement from the drums and sultry, dark vocals. Every goth staple you need for the perfect soundtrack to your deep and longing stare into the void is present with Korine.
The opening track to New Arrangements is called “Captive,” I like to keep a bit of mystery when it comes to what lyrical content may be about, but I’m quite certain from the catchy Retropop vibes thumping from this track that they may be referring to you, the listener, now being captive to their grooves within the first few moments of this record. I found myself trapped somewhere between the excitement of finding a new act and the sweet throws of nostalgia.
The standout track to me on this record is “Heaven’s Servant.” It features a music video complete with glitch effects, goth folks in a cemetary and the beautifully androgynous members of the group sensually sporting a skull mask mixed in with bits of live footage. This specific track really had me feeling like I needed to move and be moved. It exists somewhere between Tears for Fears and A Flock of Seagulls on the soundscape with a more modern feel.
The entirety of this record is consistent in its dark-pop delivery. The melodies are catchy, the drums sound great and keep the song moving all the way to the title track to close out the record. “Elegance & You” finishes the album on a strong note and is accompanied by a music video that makes great use of a home video look and feel which adds to the retro vibe the act is going for.
Initially, I was just going to dig into only this release. However, once I got my feet wet, I felt like I absolutely needed more. Korine is cut from the same cloth as The Human League, Tears for Fears, and they absolutely capture the modern feel of the 80’s sounds these acts pioneered. Korine’s most recent release is a 7” split of two killer tracks “Uncrossed / To You.” Both songs on this release are equally strong. The lyrical content and passionate delivery of the vocals in “To You” feel as though they were acquiesced into existence by a lamented lover.
“Uncrossed” really showcases the artistic growth of the duo. The songwriting is subtly layered and catchy. The production values of both the track and the music video suggest that we haven’t seen or heard the best from this East Coast duo yet. I’m excited to see where they go from here. I’m a big fan of their approach to songwriting. It uses “negative space” at a mature level and manages to pack big sound into just a few instruments.
Korine is currently on tour. You can catch a list of upcoming dates, merch, music and videos on their bandcamp: