She & Him | Vol. II

26 03 2010

I just picked up the new She & Him album, Volume II, which came out earlier this week. For those that are not familiar, “She” is actress/musician extraordinaire Zooey Deschanel and “Him” is indie rock impresario M. Ward. She is not just an actress but also a gifted vocalist as seen in a few of her films. What most people don’t realize is that She also knows her way around the piano and banjo. M. Ward has made a name for himself with his own work but decided to partner with Deschanel after a chance meeting on set. She told him that She has been writing and recording demos for years but never thought much of doing anything with them. Soon after, She sent those recordings to Him and with a little tinkering they had Volume I. I have to be honest, I prefer M. Ward’s solo material to this… but only slightly. I think it’s because She & Him is a bit more alt country/indie folk than indie rock but it’s great nonetheless. I particularly like Vol. II. Below is the first single from the new album, “In The Sun”.

This is “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here” from last year’s Volume I.

*She & Him doing “I Put A Spell On You” live at LA’s Disney Concert Hall… great version of this classic song but, the recording is abbreviated as the taper was interrupted by a pesky usher and forced to stop filming.

* Zooey doing the War tune “Why Can’t We Be Friends” from the movie, The Bridge To Teribithia.

Fun Bio from the She & Him site

Find more on the official She & Him website

Volume II on iTunes

Vol I & Vol II on Amazon.com

PS- See the comments section of this post for a more comprehensive review… I guess I wasn’t feeling it until prompted by a really well informed peer and good friend PBeat & J.  ~GG

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3 responses

26 03 2010
PBeat&J

Great post. Have you noticed how well they layered her vocals on Vol. II?

26 03 2010
thegreengorilla

Yes, I have. The overall production of the album is really good but it comes as no surprise given M Ward’s contribution. For a “Indie” album, it’s very slick without being over produced. You might say it’s right in the “sweet spot” for the style of music and over arching aesthetic that they are going for. I didn’t comment too heavily about what I like (or don’t like, for that matter) in my post so to expand upon that a bit:

It’s a given that I like the sound and musical production but what I really enjoy is the simplicity at the root of each song. It’s as though you can tell that Zooey wrote these from her own straight ahead, whimsical and yet reverent point of view. You can tell she has a deep appreciation for the great music of decades past and that comes across in the writing. It’s a very natural approach that is then embellished just enough to translate to contemporary audiences without losing the initial feeling and intent.

28 03 2010
Jim T

I too was excited about this release, sugary pop at it’s finest, and although there is nothing earth shattering here in the material, they are simply well written pop songs that are going for a vintage aesthetic in arrangement and subject matter. Songs like “be my baby” and “wouldn’t it be nice” are timeless, and for better or worse, that is what these songs are trying to do, place themselves not in time or place, but rather – feeling…a sunny feeling at that.

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