Tender Madness

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The brainchild of ex-Girls drummer Darren Weiss and longtime friend/multi-instrumentalist Daniel Presant, L.A.-based Papa prefer to go big or go home, and their debut long-player, the appropriately titled Tender Madness, more or less backs that notion up with 12 emotionally charged slabs of Foster the People- and Killers-infused highway anthems, of both the fist-pumping and soul-searching varieties, that flirt with mainstream architecture yet retain enough of a ramshackle, post-slacker luster to appeal to fans of Weiss' previous outfit. This is the E Street Band fronted by “Loser”-era Beck, and big, wide-angle-lens crowd pleasers like "Get Me Through the Night," "Forgotten Days," "Put Me to Work," and "Young Rut" -- the latter two of which found homes in headphones and hearts as heavily circulated singles in the months prior to the album's release -- make strong first impressions. Tender Madness also boasts its fair share of midtempo, suburban R&B jams like the amiable and wry ("I want to hold you, but I feel like a baby) "Cotton Candy," high (as in wasted) and lonesome juke joint laments (“Replacements [Curls in the Grass]”), the latter a duet with country crooner and Secret Sister Lydia Rogers, and evocative slices of 21st century Americana, like the lovely "If the Moon Rises," all of which add up to a surprisingly affecting debut that looks a little redundant on paper, but with an open heart and a slight buzz, knocks it out of the park through a pair of thrift shop speakers.

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