By: Emily J Ramey
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Zooey Deschanel is unflinchingly carefree in all of endeavors, but as the “She” in the duo She & Him, Deschanel simply radiates bliss. Her delicate soprano glides so lightly over Volume Two’s collection of sunny refrains, the album practically personifies spring itself. Acoustic guitar virtuoso M. Ward, aka “Him,” completes the magnetic pairing, accompanying Zooey’s lyrics with warm, cheery instrumentals. Channeling the likes of The Beach Boys, The Carpenters, and The Mama and the Papas, She & Him has assembled a sweet and breezy anthology that seems meant for a long drive on an April afternoon.
Volume Two begins with a thoughtful, rolling tune called “Thieves,” in which the line “I’ll see you sometime, sometimes lonely isn’t sad” stands out as most poignant. The shimmering single “In the Sun” is dazed and sprightly, charming in its simplicity. The chorus goes: “Well alright/It’s okay/We all get the slip sometimes every day.” “Don’t Look Back” is a deliberately and delightfully 60s melody, but with lovely literary opening lines: “Orpheus melted the heart of Persephone/But I never had yours/I followed you back, to the end of the path/But I never found the door.” “Gonna Get Along Without You Now” is a favorite of mine – it’s ironically dainty harmonies counterbalance jaunty lyrics like, “Got along without you before I met you,/Gonna get along without you now./Gonna find somebody that’s twice as cute,/Cause I didn’t like you anyhow.” Volume Two closes with “If You Can’t Sleep,” a blushing and beautiful ballad so graceful and blithe it’s almost sad.
As unlikely a pair as Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward are, they’ve capitalized on luminous melodies and exquisitely lyrical folk music, and it works because together as She & Him, they are dynamic. Volume Two is a perfect playlist for a balmy afternoon on sun-drenched porch in spring, so if you need me, that’s where I’ll be.
Emily J Ramey is a burgeoning young music writer, living and working in Nashville, TN. Her background includes journalism classes at New York University and a Music Business degree from Belmont University. Check out her blog at listenerextraordinaire.wordpress.com.
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