Two years after the release of their first EP “A Good Woman Is Hard to Find,” PAPA is out with their debut album, “Tender Madness.”
It’s an album that’s been widely anticipated, especially since the Los Angeles duo appears to have done everything in the last two years except release an album. They’ve been playing at major music festivals like Outside Lands and FYF Fest, touring with Grouplove and strategically releasing videos and singles that have left their fans practically begging for a new full-length album.
Their new album dropped Tuesday, Oct. 8, and with 12 quality tracks it’s an ambitious record that was well worth the wait.
Appropriately titled, “Tender Madness'” almost perfectly reflects the dynamics of the album. PAPA slowly eases into their album, opening with a two-minute instrumental track suitably titled “PAPA.” As it unfolds and increases in both volume and tempo, it’s clear that PAPA is intentionally preparing its audience for an intense 11 tracks. And intense they are.
There are tracks like “Put Me To Work” and “If You’re My Girl, Then I’m Your Man,”which exhibit a palpable enthusiasm. Darren Weiss (previously the drummer of San Francisco’s Girls) plays with passion and gusto that keeps the album afloat. There’s an intensity that proliferates throughout the entire album, even in “Tender Madness’s” most delicate moments. Meanwhile, tracks like “If the Moon Rises” and “Get Me Through the Night” reveal the delicate vocals PAPA has in its repertoire. Darren Weiss and Daniel Presant’s crooning vocals are opulent in sentiment, leading the songs toward more emotionally rich territory and balancing the album out.
Weiss (drums, lead vocals) and Present (back-up vocals, bass) claim to have been influenced by many things, including Bruce Springsteen, America and Los Angeles—the only aspect of the album that falls short. The album is described as “Americano,” and the album art displays an American flag, but it never is exactly clear where, when and how the album is influenced by either America or Los Angeles.
The album takes a few times to get used to,but after listening to it for a third time it comes alive in potential and dynamic and becomes clear that the album is, in fact, something special. It’s diverse and acute. It’s tender and it’s insane. For a first debut full-length, real-life album, it works. And just like “A Good Woman Is Hard To Find,” it leaves us asking for more.