She & Him offers the best of both pop worlds: alternative and sixties pop. For the latter, lead singer Zooey Deschanel's effervescent vocals are reminiscent of the best vintage memories: Dusty Springfield, Leslie Gore, and Petula Clark seem effortlessly evoked as steadfast piano and guitar chords infectiously serenade the listener in a bouncey fashion. For 'Volume Two' even the studio production echoes the recordings of yesteryear. Yet, the flair is there, too, an essential element, preventing the songs from becoming too much bubblegum to our ears.
Those who like Sixpence None the Richer's version of "There She Goes" will most likely be enthralled with this little studio album gem. Or, for those more geared to the traditional or hardcore, comparisons can be made with Deschanel's "Brand New Shoes" and Mo Tucker's famous vocal performance on "After Hours," the finale of The Velvet's self-titled album.
Consistency is one of the greatest common denominators of this collection, even if "Don't Look Back," "Gonna Get Along Without You Now," and "Over It Over Again" are stand outs. Yet countrified songs like "Lingering Still" and "I'm Gonna Make It Better" keep it all fresh and fun.
In sum 'Volume Two' is a 'Back to the Future' listening experience: pleasant enough to hook us in, but innovative enough to keep us coming back for more.
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John L. Peterson (JP_Rocky_Raccoon)
I am a substitute teacher who enjoysonline reviewing. Skiing is my favorite pastime; weight training and health are my obsessions;and music and movies feed my psyche. Books are a treasure and a pleasure … more
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What began as a fascinating, no-strings-attached collaboration on 2008's Volume One has evolved into a bona fide, touring band, and She & Him are here to stay. Zooey Deschanel and Matt Ward are a comfortable and complementary musical pair; hearing them again on Volume Two feels like getting together with two old friends. This time, the harmonies have grown more angelically layered, the string arrangements more dramatic, the songwriting even sharper and more confident. All songs (except 4 and 7) written by Zooey Deschanel. Produced by M. Ward.