Much like when you see a movie and all the best parts were in the trailers, I always worry that a band’s single is the best part of an entire album. After the one-two punch release of the tracks “Young Rut” and “If You’re My Girl, Then I’m Your Man,” I found an exceptional continuation of the music I fell in love with on PAPA’s A Good Woman Is Hard To Find EP and hoped the rest of the duo’s new album would meet the high standard set by previous releases.
Tender Madness opens with the band-titled instrumental track, just under two minutes of piano-led anticipation and buildup before transitioning into familiar songs “Put Me To Work” and “Young Rut.” I’ve had these two tracks on repeat since their release, so it’s nothing new to say that I love the songs that have teased Tender Madness, but it’s truly with “Forgotten Days” that the album fully moves into full-force PAPA. Danny Presant and Darren Weiss — the faces of the band — ease us into the track with calculated bass and percussion, and Weiss’ old-soul vocals invite listeners in further with the flirty lines, “Put your foot through that door and your good love on me.”
The core of the album lies in the center tracks; “Cotton Candy” is intoxicatingly upbeat and catchy while “If The Moon Rises” is a tribute to the band’s compositional strengths and mood-setting tempos. “Get Me Through The Night” pulls a page from the ’80s-inspired “Young Rut” sound and organ-influenced keys.
Listening to the tracks on Tender Madness in their intended order and hearing “If You’re My Girl, Then I’m Your Man” is like running into a long lost friend whom you’ve missed terribly among a crowd of strangers. The familiarity is comforting, and with each verse, I can’t help but nod my head in affirmation: this song is just too good. You can feel the emotional longing through Weiss’ words and the chorusing, harmonic “ooh’s,” and the guitar and bass breakdown are the highlight of an already amazing album.
The album continues on, and after a few minutes, we find another song from the EP. I can’t (nor do I want to) fault PAPA for bringing “I Am The Lion King” over to the full-length. It’s fun and consistent with the album’s flirtatious themes. Tender Madness is ultimately a bold chronicle of pickup lines, exemplified best in the song “Honey, I Don’t Need Another Friend.”
Beyond the bonus material, the production quality of the recording is a step up from A Good Woman Is Hard To Find, which is a testament to the support behind PAPA as well as the investment the band is putting into the music themselves. While I’ve seen them live half a dozen times already, Tender Madness has me waiting anxiously for the next show.
For more information and, more importantly, to preorder your copy of Tender Madness, visit PAPA’s website.