Spring is never quite complete until the sun is shining and the right kind of music is blaring through the speakers. In honor of She & Him’s third album, Volume Three, being released in a few weeks it only seems justifiable to be nostalgic and review their first vinyl they released back in March 2008.
She & Him is a collaboration between M. Ward and actress Zooey Deschanel. Ward is mostly known for his solo work, and his contribution with the band Monsters of Folk. Deschanel has demonstrated her voice in various different films that she has appeared in (Elf, Yes Man, Winter’s Passing, etc.)
On Volume One the majority of songs are written solely by Deschanel. Excluding three songs: “You Really Got a Hold on Me”, “I Should Have Known Better”, and “Sweet Darlin’”. The elegant voice of Deschanel with the guitar skills and occasional vocals of Ward brings the smooth 50’s vibe of music.
There is nothing that compares to the tunes of She & Him out there today. The duo embodies the true meaning of retro. Even though the album is a over a few years old, it is a clear musical representation of being a blast from the past.
The second the needle hits the record and “Sentimental Heart” begins to play; the listener gets enveloped in Deschanel’s vocals. This particular track is focused mostly on the strength of Deschanel’s voice.
The first single She & Him released, “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?” is the second track on the album. Not only does this track represent the more poppy side of the band, but also features a guitar solo from Ward. The lyrics are a bit simple, but that isn’t the importance of what She & Him is about. Their music is created to bring music lovers back to a time when music was classy, yet upbeat.
Volume One slows down its pace after “This is Not a Test”. The next few tracks have more of a late 50’s, early 60’s feel to them. “I Thought I Saw Your Face Today” brings to mind the image of a black and white Ed Sullivan Show type of performance.
It is no surprise that The Beach Boys have been an influence on Deschanel when it comes to the track “I Was Made for You”. Both the pace of the song, sound of guitar, and background vocals give a sense of the typical Beach Boys song. She & Him’s renditions of cover songs are just as well performed as their original tracks.
“You Really Got a Hold on Me,” and “I Should Have Known Better” are well executed by Ward and Deschanel. Both of the covered tracks have a uniqueness to them that differentiates them from the original recordings. The vinyl does not include the bonus cover song, “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” that the compact disc and MP3 version offer.
She & Him has offered the current musical generation the sounds of what music used to be about. The pure, raw talent of a guitarist and a woman that can sing without the influence of technology is in fact She & Him. “Black Hole,” and “Sweet Darlin’” have a bit of The Mammas & The Pappas sound to them.
The year this album was released wouldn’t exactly make it fit into the term, “retro”. What makes She & Him perfect for that word is their musical style. They embody everything the old musical generation was about, and bring it into current day. Vinyl has been making a comeback over the past few years. She & Him are the type of band that should be listened to on vinyl to fully appreciate their musical essence.