Wednesday, March 24, 2010

pop*eye...She & Him - Volume Two (2010)

- Volume 2
Spring Comes Again.., Hooorayy..y!

She & Him - Volume Two (2010)

The country-folk duo of M. Ward and actress Zooey Deschanel known as She & Him is slated to return in 2010, proving that the 2008 collaboration wasn’t just a one-off affair. Aptly titled “Volume 2,” the 13 song set is due March 23 on Merge and features 10 originals and two covers, NRBQ’s “Ridin’ In My Car” and Skeeter Davis’s “Gonna Get Along Without You.” Deschanel wrote the originals with Ward producing and the pair spent time recording over the last year in Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon.

While most actress-to-musician crossover albums don’t translate into sales, She & Him struck a chord last time around, with a formula that included Ward’s signature, washed guitar sound and Deschanel’s crystal clear vocals. According to Nielsen SoundScan, “Volume 1″ has sold 176,000. In a live setting, the group utilizes a full band and stages successful club tours as well as major festival appearances such as the Newport Folk Festival, South By Southwest and the Virgin Festival.

“Volume 2″ is said to expand on the first album’s 1970s style aesthetic and production, this time including strings and guests spots from Tilly and the Wall. The duo most recently contributed a cover of the Smiths’ “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” to the soundtrack for “(500) Days of Summer,” also a Deschanel film. Ward’s most recent solo release is 2009’s “Hold Time,” and he also appeared as part of the Bright Eyes/Jim James quartet, Monsters of Folk.

Here is the “Volume 2″ track list:

“In the Sun”
“Don’t Look Back”
“Ridin’ In My Car”
“Lingering Still”
“Me and You”
“Gonna Get Along Without You Now”
“I’m Gonna Make It Better”
“Over It Over Again”
“Brand New Shoes”
“If You Can’t Sleep”


For such a mild-mannered and ingratiating indie-pop duo, She and Him sure is polarizing. That division is what happens when a ubiquitous singer-songwriter (M. Ward) teams up with a quintuply ubiquitous, egregiously doe-eyed, vaguely quirky film actress (Zooey Deschanel). It’s a recipe for skepticism, before the “play” button has even been pressed.

Once it has, though, She and Him’s timelessly sunny pop throwbacks are far easier to defend. As on its predecessor — the title of which will become apparent in a moment — Volume Two features a lot more She than Him, with Deschanel taking the lead through a set of winsome, lilting songs. In “Home,” she may pine for a lover, but she sounds like she’s singing through a smile.

As a result, Volume Two isn’t exactly dragging listeners through a complex emotional hellride. It’s more confection than confessional, but it’s a kind-natured one; the audio equivalent of a spring breeze that wafts in at a perfect time.

Their debut was one of the best albums of 2008, making this a highly anticipated release. The new album includes covers of NRBQ and Skeeter Davis, along with a guest appearance from Tilly & the Wall.

more on...she&him


"It's earnestly but seemingly effortlessly put together."

I look forward to
Volume 3!

the portastylistic

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