Zooey Deschanel seems to live a pretty charmed life as far as I can see. The Indie Boy's Wet Dream™ is a successful actress with good looks, an indie musician husband and a talent that stretches to singing and songwriting as well.
So despite the frequent blunders actors make into pop careers, She and Him seemed a golden project from the start. Anyone who saw the film Elf can attest to her honey-sweet voice, and her first full-length collaboration with M.Ward was praised for its deft take on sunny 70s Californian pop.
Volume Two is an apt title for the second LP because it picks up squarely where it left off. Clean sounding, lovelorn pop songs drenched in harmonies - songs made for sunny afternoons. No doubt that there will be some who criticize that they haven't reinvented the wheel here, but then that's sort of the point, isn't it?
The ability to create songs like this: nostalgic yet somehow timeless, warm yet not too saccharine is actually really hard to do right. But they do it, more than competently. What's more, some of the new songs seem to have taken on an air of confidence and they seem altogether more robust than those on Volume One. Highlights like 'Thieves' and 'Brand New Shoes' zing with cleverness, with Deschanel's rich vocals pouring over M.Ward's arrangements.
As someone who grew up surrounded by the songs of Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt and Jackson Browne - it's nice to see someone celebrate the joy of a genre which has in some respects, fallen out of fashion in modern music. As a pairing, the best aspects of She and Him now shine through, making Volume 2 joyful, sad, sweet and irresistible all at once.