She & Him – Volume Two

She & Him – Volume Two

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Celebrity albums shouldn’t get a category of their own. There shouldn’t be any, “Yeah, it’s good for an actress-turned-singer” judgements. Luckily for Zooey Deschanel, there aren’t. Two years since their first release, Deschanel and indie star M. Ward, simply known as She & Him, are back with their much anticipated second album, Volume 2 — and, perhaps surprisingly, it’s pretty damn good.

Deschanel’s dreamy and adorable voice effortlessly serenades us through the ’50s inspired first track on the album, “Thieves.” Deschanel then skips along to the bouncy and catchy following track, “In the Sun,” all the while accompanied by leaping piano and Ward’s twangy, gleaming folk inspired guitars.

She & Him manage to sneak in covers of NRBQ’s 1977 hit “Ridin’ In My Car,” and Skeeter Davis’s version of “Gonna Get Along Without You Now”. The band is so true to their vintage sound and the tracks fit in so nicely that you’d never guess they were covers unless you had heard the originals first. More melancholic songs like “Me and You” and “Brand New Shoes” are strategically positioned as commercials from the upbeat, cuter songs on the album — a wise move on the band’s part to keep the songs from all blending together.

Not to rain on the She & Him parade, but by the end of the album you might get a little sick of Deschanel’s almost too sugary sound. In fact, it’s hard to describe each song without using a descriptor like “cute.” The harmonies become a bit over powering, too, and some of the songs could lose the extra flair and back ground instruments that can be a bit distracting at times. The lyrics on Volume Two may not be deep and prophetic, but the notion of “less is more” works for She & Him.

This album is way too upbeat for me to go any further down the cynical path. So, I will say that Volume Two is a sunny day`s best friend and will be the perfect accessory for that walk in the park or trip to the beach this summer. And, while it still may be a common belief to steer clear of actresses turned musicians (sorry Scarlett Johansson) or vice versa (yes, I mean you, Jessica Simpson) Deschanel, armed with her smooth delivery, retro flare and impressive sophomore album, fights this notion… and wins.


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