Core is an excellent collection of dark, energetic synthpop that will appeal to fans of VNV Nation and Mesh. Its cover image and title might suggest themes exploring the hot, geographic center of our planet, and there are moments touching on the physical realm.
But the album mostly covers our individual cores—who we are as people and the way we behave. A diverse cast of characters appears across the album’s 12 tracks, including a superficial man who lives a superficial life and a very timely healthcare worker forced to make split-second decisions about people’s wellbeing. One of the album’s most interesting tracks, “Viktor,” is about someone struggling with their personal identity. This excellent review at Avalost says it’s inspired by a transgender fan who talked to The Saint Paul after one of their concerts.
“Viktor” is the closest the album gets to a ballad. It primarily maintains a nice range of mid to high-tempo BPMs that could transition seamlessly from headphones to the dancefloor. Standout tracks for me include “Superficial,” “Triage,” and “Black Rain.”
But my favorite song from Core is the deeply philosophical track “Melancholy of the Sun,” which features a seismic beat and lyrics that would make Stephen Hawking proud: “Molecules linked by chemicals mixed with energy and dust of stars.”
In late 2020, The Saint Paul released their first single from Core, a club anthem called “Be a Rebel” that was coincidentally the same title as the latest New Order single. “Be a Rebel” came with a music video: