13 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The second collection from the unlikely dynamic duo of actress Zooey Deschanel and indie-rock sensation M. Ward continues in the mode of the first volume with Deschanel’s girl-group pop voice being framed as if she were starring in a Phil Spector-produced musical. It’s an odd sensation where the sound deliberately dates itself back to the early ‘60s yet sounds inscrutably timeless as the handclaps and vocal interplay suggest a love for pop music that can’t be easily dismissed. The nuggets are everywhere. “Don’t Look Back” is a humorous poke at their own nostalgic tendencies as you can practically hear Deschanel blowing up her bouffant hairdo as the song crescendos. Their cover of NRBQ’s “Ridin’ In My Car” recasts the tune as a sultry Parisian rainy-day pop tune. “Home” sashays with a beautifully decorative and descending vocal line. “I’m Gonna Make It Better” bounces with a playful ebullience. Quite simply, an album of great fun.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The second collection from the unlikely dynamic duo of actress Zooey Deschanel and indie-rock sensation M. Ward continues in the mode of the first volume with Deschanel’s girl-group pop voice being framed as if she were starring in a Phil Spector-produced musical. It’s an odd sensation where the sound deliberately dates itself back to the early ‘60s yet sounds inscrutably timeless as the handclaps and vocal interplay suggest a love for pop music that can’t be easily dismissed. The nuggets are everywhere. “Don’t Look Back” is a humorous poke at their own nostalgic tendencies as you can practically hear Deschanel blowing up her bouffant hairdo as the song crescendos. Their cover of NRBQ’s “Ridin’ In My Car” recasts the tune as a sultry Parisian rainy-day pop tune. “Home” sashays with a beautifully decorative and descending vocal line. “I’m Gonna Make It Better” bounces with a playful ebullience. Quite simply, an album of great fun.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5
1K Ratings

1K Ratings

walkerman 88 ,

Great throwback sound

When I first heard that Zooey Deschanel was doing the actress turned rock star thing I was a little skeptical at first,Those thoughts we're put to rest when I listened to their first effort, and now on the second release I have become a very big fan of their musical stylings. The sound on the latest album harkens back to the days of listening to the Beach Boys on the AM radio while cruising in the car with the top down.This album is solid from start to finish, some of the highlights are Thieves,in the sun, don't look back, ridin' in my car,and get along without you now.If you are a fan of great music and love The Beach boys, The Carpenters, and the Mamas and the papas, this album is definitely one for you.

CARemey ,

Amazing

Volume Two is one of the rare occurrences where every single song on the track isn't only listenable, but wonderful in it's own way. BTW the album review is for Volume One for some reason...?

Matt Sanderlin ,

Volume Two: Imperfect, but Indelible

Volume Two stars our same beloved team, actress Zooey Deschanel and acoustic guitar virtuoso M. Ward.— Only this time, they're accompanied by a newfound sense of critical anticipation and expectation. Volume One, the duo's debut release, was the 2008 indie favorite, and only two years later, the they're back in the game with thirteen new tracks.

The album definitely has a familiar vibe; somewhere between Beach Boys and Beatles territory, leaving room only for Deschanel's charming vocal prowess and M. Ward's endlessly creative musical understanding. First single "In the Sun" is a respectable starting point for a new listener— Simple and catchy in tune, and quirky and cute in lyric. The two also tackle a few classic covers (NRBQ's "Ridin' in My Car" and Skeeter Davis's "Gonna Get Along Without You Now"), and these are wonderful renditions that a new set of ears would find appealing.

Other original, Deschanel-penned tunes stand out as well; the sunny, schoolgirl-esque "Lingering Still," the heartbreakingly intimate "Thieves," and the melodically and lyrically clever "Brand New Shoes." In comparison to Volume One material, these songs aren't revolutionary, but they are still very strong tunes that benefit from repeat listens.

A very small few of the tracks, however, have a few itches left unscratched. Pieces like "Over It Over Again" and "Home" are decent tunes, but lack either a boost in lyrical creativity or melodic progression, respectively. "Don't Look Back" also takes a few listens to crack— The piano arrangement is an obvious recreation of the legendary "In My Life" (Lennon/McCartney) composition, and the chorus melody is borderline repetitive. These small misses, though, do little to weigh the album down as a whole.

Overall, M. Ward's production is much more polished this time around (for better, or for worse), and the collaboration seems more natural and confident. Deschanel's vocal "folk" side is noticeably less forced than in previous recordings, while the direction of the music is still very vintage and colorful.

Well done, my She and Him. After three consecutive listens, I am eager for another. I smell a hint of summer bliss just around the corner…

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