Analog Adventures: Volume 2
She & Him
About the Artist
Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward are the two parts that make one entire She & Him. The folk rock duo came together in 2006 when Ward met Deschanel on the set of The Go-Getter. The films director made the suggestion for Ward to record a duet with the star. Deschanel’s singing talents caught Ward’s attention in the movie Elf, where she sang various Christmas songs such as Santa Claus is Coming to Town. The chemistry between the two is real immediately took them to the studio where they began their collaboration.
The Record Itself
Volume Two is the second album by She & Him. It is a far more tonally focused album than their first album, Volume One. The wide variety of songs and styles is the albums greatest strength; the production quality and timbre being a close second. Deschanel’s vocal range floats in the middle, rarely going too high or low. Her distinctly retro singing suits tracks such as Thieves, Ridin’ in My Car, and Lingering Still. The hint of melancholy is ever present in her voice, melancholy that is restrained by excellent vocal control. Her voice is complimented by Ward’s on tracks such as Ridin’ in My Car.
I could be your welcome, I could be your greeter. I could be sweet, and I could be sweeter. I want to be where your heart is home – She & Him, Home
Ward mans the producers chair for Volume 2, and his influences are evident. The wall of sound technique made famous by Phil Spector during the 1960s features layered instruments on top of big reverberating vocals. String arrangements on top of guitars, pianos, and drums fill the speakers much like a big live band fills up a concert hall. Thieves begins the album with the wall of sound warming up your speakers. This technique is scaled back for more intimate ballads, but the fullness is still present through Deschanel’s voice. Layered vocals on songs such as Gonna Get Along Without You Nowharken back to girl groups such as the Supremes. This retro influence is strong but not insincere, that is to say one does not feel like they are listening to a jukebox over contemporary music.
The rear cover of the record
The sleeve is a smooth matte with a charming child-like illustration as the cover. The drawing of the girl with a suitcase in hand holding a tin can to her ear beckons to hear an invitation from a friend to travel the world. The simple colors contrast each other and compliment the complex and polished production quality. Not to say that the songs are over produced or overwrought, but the simple art does more by doing less. The disc is a hefty 180 grams giving a quality feel to the record.
Is It Worth It?
If you appreciate folk rock and retro inspired pop in any capacity, this record sells itself. Zooey Deschanel is a A-List celebrity and cements her abilities as a songwriter among the best. Volume 2 builds upon its influences to create a contemporary classic in the spirit of the biggest acts of the 1960s, and is a worth addition to any collection.
- In the Sun
- Lingering Still