“Who Painted This Year Blue” is the stunning closing track off The Nape of Your Neck, Brooklyn-based singer-composer Paul Darrah’s debut EP under the moniker Tenant From Zero. While the six-track collection primarily works in rippling ’80s synth-pop textures, “Who Painted This Year Blue” is steeped instead in pools of viscous melancholy. It’s a break-up ballad evoking a deep, impenetrable gradient of regret transitioning into guilt. Backed by a single solemn horn, Darrah sifts through his present like its an epilogue — asking himself if it’s her absence that has him down, or the recognition of his faults and failures that led to her leaving. “Was it you or me who made this past year blue?” Darrah cries over a disarmingly still instrumental that wouldn’t sit out of place on one of the last Destroyer albums. Yet there’s warmth amongst the icy, empty contours, with Darrah harvesting every residual ember in service of the hope to one day rekindle the fire that used to burn within him. Listen below.
The Nape of Your Neck is out now. Purchase it via Bandcamp.