You may be tired of me saying “I’m not going to pretend to be objective”, but what’s the point of a review if you’re not being honest? We’ve already been treated to no less than four songs (one of which, “Fool Of Myself”, the flipside to the debut single, “Lucky Guy” is NOT included on this album, surprisingly), so now we get to enjoy the other seven tracks that make up this debut, self-titled album. And “enjoy” is the key word. The music Those Pretty Wrongs makes is enjoyable, warm, heart-filling, soulful pop with acoustic flavors and harmonies – and I can ask for nothing better. I don’t need to give you the background on Those Pretty Wrongs – you know it’s Jody Stephens and Luther Russell and you know their histories. So let’s focus on the here and now.
“Ordinary” – well, there’s no way around it. It’s going to be familiar, because there is a unquestionably a Chris Bell-like presence. And it’s beautiful – listen to those harmonies and the guitar arrangement, with (what sound likes) mellotron strings (I think I know where it comes from…) – immediately, it gives you chills and that’s a good thing (and a fine way to open this collection). “I’m For Love” is wonderful, light and airy twangy-pop with chiming riffs, crisp electric guitar figures and an on-the-one solo (not to mention the catchy chorus); the Beach Boys-like piano arrangement and passion of “Empty City” makes it an instant classic and that descending guitar riff that kicks in with the drums is so right. “Thrown Away” is a tight, taut, tasty piece with (I’m presuming) 12-string Rickenbackers shimmering and a beefy rhythm section – easily one of the most radio-friendly tracks and “potential hit” written all over it.
“The Cube” is a neatly off-kilter number, with a jaunty piano and a humorously sinister vibe; “Start Again” is acoustic heaven, with the melody following Jody’s gentle vocal delivery and “Mystery Trip” is another upbeat, chiming guitar instantly memorable standout and “The Heart” closes out this initial release – a message of hope and positivity, with an uplifting horn solo that brings it to an even higher emotional area. And as it stands, this album leaves me wanting more. That should tell you everything.
For a new band with such qualified drivers, Those Pretty Wrongs completely and unquestionably delivered on the promise of those first tracks aired. Songs that give you something to smile about and hum along to; lyrics to make you think and for me, a quality sound – fine production (and leaving space where there should be, instead of overfilling the gaps). Actually, here’s the simplest criteria – I love it. And so will you.
The self-titled debut from Those Pretty Wrongs is available now