For those of you who don't know, She & Him is a new band, comprised of indie-folkster M. Ward and actress/singer Zooey Deschanel. You will, of course, remember Zooey from her roles in Almost Famous, Elf, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and many other movies. You may remember M. Ward from his solo work, most notably Transistor Radio and Post-War. Zooey trotted out her pipes for a scene in Elf, while M. Ward has been making lo-fi, folkish-rock for a number of years now. It was only a matter of time before they put out an album.
Well...here it is. There are some twists and turns along the way, but this album sounds pretty close to how I imagined it would.
Zooey has the perfect voice for the overall "old feel" of this album. They run through some different styles, and all of them work. We have country ("Got Me"), lounge-jazz ("Take it Back"), vocal piano-pop ("Sentimental Heart"), pop-rock ("Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?"), gospel ("Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"), and even a bit of doo wop ("I Was Made for You").
The song selection is comprised of songs that Zooey wrote, combined with a couple of covers ("I Should Have Known Better", "You Really Gotta a Hold On Me").
The production and instrumentation of M. Ward couldn't be better. The music, combined with Zooey's voice, make this album sound like a classic; like it was recorded 50 years ago. I've never been a huge fan of M. Ward, but he really hit the nail on the head with the arrangements here.
There are a couple of things I'm not crazy about. I'm not a big fan of the song "Black Hole". It's not too as it goes on, but the beginning just sounds a bit off. Also, whenever M. Ward opens his mouth to sing (which only happens twice on the album), I just wish he had kept it closed. I know a lot of people love his voice, but I'm not one of those people. I don't hate it, it just seems a bit out of place on this album.
Whenever an actress decides they want to be a singer, there is always a bit of a question of whether they can pull it off or not. Well, Zooey pulls it off to perfection here, and she found a fantastic musical partner in M. Ward. Here's to hoping that Volume One is just the beginning.
Favorite Songs: "Sentimental Heart", "Change is Hard", "I Was Made for You", "Sweet Darlin'"
Check out their website
(Have I regained your faith, Matthew?)