March 31, 2010

Test Spin: She & Him

Print More

Three years ago musician M. Ward agreed to score The Go-Getter, a low budget film starring indie darling Zooey Deschanel. At the request of director Martin Hynes, Ward met with Deschanel to record a song that would play over the credits. From this meeting developed She & Him, one of music’s most intriguing partnerships. Initially conceived as a side project for both Ward and Deschanel, She & Him has evolved into a full on touring band, whose debut album, entitled Volume One, was released in March of 2008 to heaps of praise.

Now, two years later, She & Him are back with their sophomore record. Volume Two is everything you’d expect from She & Him: breezy ’70s inspired folk music with modern sensibilities. Deschanel’s vocals are crisp and beautiful, as are her lyrics, and Ward’s production is the perfect complement to them. But, what elevates this album is the unity that can be felt between the two collaborators. On their debut, She & Him felt like a pairing of two individuals, albeit a fantastic one, whereas here they come off like a band. Ward provides more vocally on Volume Two and the blend of his voice with Deschanel’s yields splendid results.

The disc’s opening number, “Thieves” is a nice example Deschanel’s writing at its most pointed with lines like “Two broken hearts don’t beat any less,” and, “A love like ours is terrible news. But that won’t stop me crying. No, that won’t stop me crying over you.” Lead single “In the Sun” is the album’s most bouncy track with the type of hook that creeps up on you hours after the album is over. Another standout is “Home,” a song that Deschanel presumably wrote about her husband Ben Gibbard, of Death Cab for Cutie fame. On it Deschanel coos “Why don’t we just sit and stare and do nothing? Nothing at all for a while/I like the way you smile.” Not such a bad offer coming from her. Make no mistake, Volume Two is a remarkable piece of work that listeners should cherish.


Original Author: Wesley Ambrecht