Tenant From Zero, the recording persona of Brooklyn singer-songwriter Paul Darrah, premieres “ZRH.” The track appears on the debut album Flight which will be released January 22, 2021 on La Bella Figura Records. Pre-order is available now at tenantfromzero1.bandcamp.
Darrah sees Tenant From Zero as a continuation of the proud British pop lineage of the artists he has loved since his youth. “I’m drawn to artists with a sense of melancholy, romance, intelligence, and style,” he says. “I modeled my voice whether consciously or subconsciously on David Sylvian, and Tracey Thorn from Everything but the Girl. After decades of listening, their voices are in mine now.”
In late 2018, Darrah began work on Flight. The album’s official start was a five-day writing/recording session with producer Ole Johannes Åleskjær (The Loch Ness Mouse, Gary Olson) at Tune-J Tonstudio in Norway. The sessions yielded six tracks co-produced by Åleskjær and Darrah. Later, Darrah completed an additional trio of songs at Marlborough Farms in Brooklyn, a recording studio owned by Gary Olson of The Ladybug Transistor. Olson contributes a gorgeous trumpet solo to the album track “After.” The entire album was mixed by Jorge Elbrecht (Ariel Pink, Tamaryn, Violens).
Flight’s nine tracks find Darrah transforming his own personal affairs of the heart into elegant songcraft. Album opener “ZRH” sets a mellow mood with the artist’s lovelorn croon supported by fretless bass, haunting glitch atmospherics, and backing vocals by Åleskjær and Samantha Brown. First single “The End Away” (released in fall 2019 before Covid-19 delayed the album’s completion) shimmers with a beauty reminiscent of Prefab Sprout. “The Bomb You Dropped” and “Perfect Words” build with drama like vintage Roxy Music. “This Can’t Wait Til Later” is a sure-fire college radio hit propelled on a taut bassline by Frantz Andreassen. “Properly Wrecked by John” lilts on a light calypso rhythm and gains stately grace from Torstein Krogedal’s saxophone. “After,” Yellow and Blue,” and “Still Empty Rooms” are haunting examples of Darrah’s muse—his alchemical ability to turn heartache into beauty.
Darrah wrote or co-wrote each of the album’s nine tracks. He also played synthesizer and contributed drum programming to “Perfect Words.” Joe McGinty, a NYC-based composer and multi-instrumentalist who has performed with The Psychedelic Furs among many others, composed the string arrangements for “The Bomb You Dropped” and “Still Empty Rooms.” An array of musicians in both Norway and NYC provided nuanced but powerful instrumentation.
2. The End Away
3. This Can’t Wait Til Later (Darrah; music by Tim Johnson & Darrah)
4. The Bomb You Dropped
6. Properly Wrecked by John
7. Perfect Words
8. Yellow and Blue (Darrah; music by Tim Motzer & Darrah)
9. Still Empty Rooms (Darrah; music by Patrick McCarthy & Darrah)
All songs by Paul Darrah except where noted
Tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9 produced by Ole Johannes Åleskjær and Paul Darrah
Tracks 1, 6 and 7 produced by Paul Darrah