She & Him Volume Two Review

Album. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

A nostalgic trip guided by Ward’s understated growl and Zooey’s crisp vocals.

Chris Beanland 2010

Actors metamorphosing into singers don't always follow the path from caterpillar to butterfly. So here we ask, for the second time, whether Zooey Deschanel is more of a Kylie Minogue, or a Dr Karl Kennedy.

You can probably guess the answer already: the evidence in Deschanel's favour began to stack up on She & Him's pleasing debut, Volume One. And it continues as such on this second outing.

The Him here is M. Ward, and it is with his deft musical guidance that Deschanel's dreamy Carly Simon-meets-Tammy Wynette vocals soar on standout tracks like Don't Look Back and the single In the Sun.

The him that Zooey goes home to is Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard. But the effortlessly charming Deschanel – whose marry me eyes have shined in films as good as Elf and as bad as Yes Man – could hardly be accused of seeking her husband's approval. DCFC fans won't notice Zooey going anywhere that band's particular brand of strident yet melancholy indie-rock on this veritable sunshine fest of an album.

Deschanel and Ward pay a fat homage to nostalgia on Volume Two – this enjoyably whimsical enterprise smacks of rose-tinted memories of teenage kisses and school dances. The sweetest nod of all to the past is the pair's good-natured cover of Milton Kellem’s song Gonna Get Along Without You Now, a hit for Patience and Prudence in 1956 and Skeeter Davis in 1964.

There are the odd moments where Volume Two threatens to fall head first into twee territory, but it avoids that fate through Ward's injection of just enough understated growl at key points. And Deschanel's performance? Her crisp vocal turn here reminds us how much we all want to spend 500 days of summer with the actress-turned-songstress.

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