released Mar 23rd, 2010

from the album - Lingering Still

YouTube - She & Him - Lingering Still

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She & Him is the somewhat unlikely pairing of country-folk artist M. Ward and actress Zooey Deschanel. While starring in the 2007 film The Go-Getter, Deschanel was asked by director Martin Hynes to perform a duet with Ward, who had agreed to helm the movie's soundtrack. The two recorded a cover of Richard & Linda Thompson's "When I Get to the Border" and later reconvened in Portland, where they began recording Deschanel's own songs (which the actress had previously kept secret) in Ward's studio. Drawing upon analog production techniques and a shared love of vintage pop bands, the duo emerged with Volume One, a collection of covers and originals that introduced Deschanel as a singer/songwriter in her own right.

Released in March 2008, Volume One received support from a number of critics, with Paste Magazine even deeming it the year's best album. Backup vocalist Becky Stark joined the group for a summer-long tour, after which Deschanel and Ward began working on a second album. Volume Two arrived in early 2010, followed by a spring tour.

album review

It’s hard to be ambivalent about Zooey Deschanel. She’s a polarizing personality, one whose deadpan movie roles and big Bambi eyes are either charming or too cute for their own good. The same can be said for She & Him, a soft rock duo that features Deschanel doing what she does best as a film star: acting utterly adorable alongside a quiet, talented male character. Her co-star in this case is M. Ward, who produces the band's second album and frames Deschanel’s voice with a Spector-sized pile of instruments. Those who already take issue with Zooey’s acting will almost surely pick this record apart — it’s too reminiscent of her cutesy turns in movies like (500) Days of Summer to change many minds — but for fans of retro pop (and Deschanel in general), Volume 2 is a gem.

Whether they’re copping the Brill Building sound or resurrecting ‘70s beach-pop, She & Him always seem to have nostalgia on the mind. These 13 tracks hail from an imaginary, sepia-toned world in which Richard Carpenter is king and Ron Burgundy is on the tube, and even a handful of contemporary references (“Talking on the phone and watching Cribs/He doesn’t know what kind of guy he is”) does little to transport the listener back to the 21st century. Like the previous album, Volume 2 would suffer under the weight of its own pastiche if it weren’t so darn endearing, filled as it is with call-and-response vocals, studio reverb, sweeping orchestrations, and other bygone tricks of the trade. Deschanel still has some flaws as a vocalist — her twang sometimes gets the best of her, pushing parts of the melody flat — but she smartly plays to her strengths, with a hint of vibrato and a sly, audible smile coloring her best performances. “Love like ours is terrible news, but that won’t stop me crying over you,” she sings at the end of “Thieves,” her voice fading out into M. Ward’s sweeping Wall of Sound. This has all been done before, perhaps, but that’s the whole point, and Volume 2 ends up being a breezy tribute to the group’s influences.

Track Listing

1. "Thieves" 4:08
2. "In the Sun" 2:51
3. "Don't Look Back" 3:23
4. "Ridin' in My Car" (Alan G. Anderson) 3:15
5. "Lingering Still" 3:02
6. "Me and You" 3:20
7. "Gonna Get Along Without You Now" (Milton Kellem) 2:32
8. "Home" 4:41
9. "I'm Gonna Make It Better" 3:32
10. "Sing" 3:14
11. "Over It Over Again" 3:30
12. "Brand New Shoes" 3:05
13. "If You Can't Sleep" 2:49