She-and-Him-M-Review-No26SHE & HIM

Volume 3


She & Him—vocalist Zooey Deschanel and producer/guitarist M. Ward—concoct a vibrant spirit on this charming, if kitschy, collection of lo-fi psychedelic pop. Deschanel wrote 11 of the 14 songs, most of which deal with the hardships of new love. Her roll-with-the-punches performance, full of innocent sighs and moody expressions, throbs with ache. On “London,” an abstract, hypnotic piano ballad, she adds shades of melancholy over overwrought verses. She glides atop a bed of strings on “Shadow of Love,” her plaintive cry sounding the death knell of her California dreams. She’s better at presenting love as a staggering challenge than as a stumbling block, and she’d do well to knock off the mock threats (“I’ve Got Your Number, Son,” “I Could’ve Been Your Girl”). Her affected vocals, dripping with self-pity, are far too eccentric for less world-weary material. Ward wisely offsets these cheerier impulses with dense, sweeping arrangements, using airy drums and purring guitars to cast an ominous haze. –Blake Boldt


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