Tuesday, July 06, 2010

She & Him - Volume Two (2010)

There is an old hit record from 1965 by an overly cute British Invasion band named Herman's Hermits called "I'm Henry the VII, I Am" in which lead vocalist Peter Noone sings, "Second verse, same as the first." It's a line that perfectly describes She & Him's sophomore release for two reasons. First, to girls, Noone's image was almost too cuddly and innocent for his own good in a similar way that She & Him's lead singer, Zooey Deschanel, is to guys. The second reason is because the film star and her partner, pop-rocker M. Ward, have issued, Volume Two, an album that is essentially a reworking of their 2008 debut.

As on Volume One Deschanel and Ward offer us another full disc of Phil Spectorized songs very reminiscent of 1960's girl groups such as The Dixie Cups and The Shangri-Las. While there is nothing new or musically adventurous about any of this music it's all quite fun to listen to. Deschanel wrote eleven of the thirteen songs and there are two covers, "Ridin' in My Car" and "Gonna Get Along Without Ya Now." They reach back all the way to 1952 for the latter tune which has been on the charts on four separate occasions, by four different artists, most recently by Skeeter Davis in 1964.

Deschanel, known to most people as the actress who played alongside Will Ferrell in Elf, or more recently as the female lead in (500) Days of Summer, has a pleasant if not powerful voice. Sometimes she sounds a little flat but her exuberance and Ward's arrangements compensate for it nicely.

If you haven't heard She & Him yet here is the official video for the single "In The Sun," a typical example of their innocent pop music.

3 comments:

  1. Great stuff, love the Hermits too!

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  2. Exactly right, Charlie. The second album echoes the first, and it's still good listening. (Love the Herman's Hermits reference; I still have the LP on which "I'm Henry VIII" was released.)

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  3. First of all, I'm enjoying your blog (just found it through your post on Dancing About Architecture).

    I am a big M Ward fan and while I like his work with She & Him, his solo output is amazing, although I wouldn't call it pop-rock, not in the slightest. I think it is probably closer to alt-country than anything else but hey, labels are subjective anyway.

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