Those Pretty Wrongs – Zed For Zulu

(cassette, 2019) No.4186

GAJOOB Review by Bryan Baker, :

“Zed For Zulu” is the second album from Those Pretty Wrongs, a musical partnership between Jody Stephens and Luther Russell that has deep roots in their enduring friendship. Their journey together began in the early ’90s, but it wasn’t until five years ago, during a documentary project about Jody’s alma mater, the legendary Memphis band Big Star, that they started making music together. Following the success of their self-titled debut album in 2016, they embarked on tours across North America, Australia, Europe, and the U.K., which eventually led to the creation of “Zed For Zulu”.

This new album is a meditation on themes of communication, the ever-present past, the uncertainty of the future, and the cycle of life and death. The music is rich yet subdued, complex yet simple—a symphony of chords and melodies played with understated elegance.

The opening track, “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight,” sets an emotional tone with lush string arrangements by Chris Stamey, whose connection to Jody goes back to the heyday of Big Star. The strings, combined with heartfelt lyrics, create a spine-tingling experience reminiscent of the all-star “Big Star’s Third Live” nights.

“Ain’t Nobody But Me” is a touching tribute to a close friend, inspired by the frequent voicemails from a friend of Jody’s wife. The simplicity and sincerity of the message resonate deeply, making it one of the standout tracks on the album.

“The Carousel” emerged from a chord progression Luther conceived in Bristol, England. Jody later brought it to life with lyrics about moving forward despite challenges, encapsulating the resilience and optimism that permeates the album.

Another highlight is “Hurricane of Love,” a song born from a chord sequence that woke Luther from sleep. His quasi-classical changes are matched by Jody’s profound and romantic lyrics, resulting in a hauntingly beautiful track. The clarinet solo by Memphis musician Jim Spake adds a pensive, almost Yiddish-like texture, enhancing the song’s emotional depth.

Overall, *Zed For Zulu* is a testament to the remarkable synergy between Jody Stephens and Luther Russell. Despite the geographical distance—Luther residing in Los Angeles and Jody in Memphis—their collaboration yields a collection of songs that are both varied in style and unified in their emotive power. It’s clear that their friendship and shared history have crafted an album that isn’t just music but a journey through time, memories, and heartfelt connections.

Media: cassette.

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dabodab is best described as a blog about various things DiY. Music, zines, graphic arts, print, crafts, publishing, local and personal history, business, app development and AI. I am Briyan Frederick (aka Bryan Baker), probably best known as the publisher of GAJOOB and a founder of Tapegerm Collective read more.


It’s a testament to their creativity and technical prowess that they’re able to construct such a complex sonic tapestry using a seemingly disparate array of sound