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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    She & Him’s Volume Two a summery delight

    She & Him

    Volume Two

    Merge Records

    Released March 23, 2010

     

    Score: A-

     

    Just about everyone is in love with Zooey Deschanel. As the indie pinup girl for our generation, girls want her hair and guys crush on her. We love her deadpan characters, from the quirky sister in “”Almost Famous”” to the title character of “”(500) Days of Summer.””

    You’ve seen her sing in films before, such as when she crooned “”Baby It’s Cold Outside”” with Will Ferrell in “”Elf.”” Her dabbling turned into a career when she paired up with indie-folk god M. Ward. The two created “”She & Him,”” successfully releasing their first album, Volume One, in 2008.

    Volume Two, like its predecessor, is unabashedly retro in its sound and summery in its feel. She & Him take the lyrics written by Deschanel and add Ward’s guitar accompaniment to give the songs a soft, but full, body. Deschanel’s rosy voice is innocently attractive, begging you to sing along.

    One of the earliest tracks on the album is “”In the Sun,”” featuring a Regina Spektor-like piano plunk and ‘60s style melody. Like many of her other songs, it features a certain amount of tension between the happy-go-lucky sound and the more serious lyrics. Check out the music video as well — an adorable fusion of folk and “”High School Musical.”” Let’s just say it involves hula hoop choreography.

    Other noteworthy songs include “”Don’t Look Back,”” where you can envision Deschanel sighing on a windowsill thinking about an old summer fling, and “”Gonna Get Along Without You Now,”” a Skeeter Davis cover capable of inducing both toe tapping and head nodding. Some songs contain a plethora of instruments, while others make you perk up to simple harmonies and guitar strains. The record’s only small drawback is the weight on a song’s chorus, which can be repeated up to five times within three minutes.

    The charms of Volume Two are undeniable. You can feel Deschanel’s sliver of a smile as her voice effortlessly leaps around the scale as Ward’s acoustic plunking wafts in the background. The 13 songs range from tropical love songs to bittersweet ballads, ending with an a cappella lullaby titled “”If You Can’t Sleep.”” While you won’t blast Volume Two at a raging party, its sweetness is definitely worth a listen.

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