Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: Bing Crosby, M. Ward, She and Him, Volume Two, Zooey Deschanel
PREVIEW: VISIT She & Him’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 15/20 Watts
She & Him will never break new ground. The M. Ward/Zooey Deschanel tag team will never experiment with any other sort of sound. Nor will they ever release a record unless they’ve got good material to work with. Unlike nearly every other artist of today, you know exactly what you’re getting from them each time out of the gate.
And yet, this seems to work perfectly. As long as Deschanel continues to provide her sultry, classic voice over the instrumental stylings of Ward, this cycle could continue going on forever. Or at least, until the end of their sophomore effort Volume Two.
Very little appears different when you begin exploring Volume Two. What more can be done with the aforementioned pieces? Still, the duo actually manages to extrapolate their seemingly closed and confined sound into something even more polished and sentimental than the last. Deschanel’s voice frolics with the hopes of young love. Her ever-present persona as a young girl musing about boys is positively inescapable, from the bopping opener “Thieves,” to closer “If You Can’t Sleep” (which may very well borrow its premise from Bing Crosby‘s “Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)”)
It’s that glowing charm that truly carries Volume Two, even more so than its predecessor. Of course, increasingly extensive orchestration by Ward also lends to a much more grown-up and solid sound, one can’t help but notice Deschanel’s newfound fifth gear in the radiance department.
Amidst the breezy trails and winding, romantic roads we travel here, there does become one problem however. Repetition. For most of the album, the two employ a pretty standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-verse setup, with echoing Motown vocals in the background for good measure. “Ridin’ In My Car,” “Sing,” “Gonna Get Along With You Now”– you name it, the song has those same elements. Besides breaks like “Home” and the aforementioned closer, sometimes songs can merge a bit.
Still, it’s hard to fault She & Him for making their songs sound too similar. They’ve never strived to be more than a pleasant little pet project that (at times) resembled the 1960s, and that’s what Volume Two presented itself as. Such execution, even of their modest goals, can be appreciated and in this case, celebrated. Just take it for what it is, and you’re sure to enjoy.