Zooey Deschanel is a true indie Queen. Having starred in several independent films and the deliciously obscure TV series Tin Man, it only makes sense that she is one half of the delightful She and Him who have released their second album, Volume 2.
The band, made up of Deschanel and Mark Ward began as a one-off, non-committed band, but they seemed to mesh so well that decided to become an authentic touring and song writing band. The album is a step forward from their first, as all second albums should be. More inclusive string orchestras make for a more dramatic collection of songs, this teamed with some clever use of the electric guitar and yet more heartache poured into the lyrics; it’s not likely to achieve astounding success, but it should be incredibly appealing to musical eclecticists.
Volume 2 creates an everlasting summer for anyone who owns it. Beginning with ‘Thieves’, a song that takes you back in time to the 1950s, is sun-soaked and easy to sing along with. Deschanel’s voice harks back to two of the greatest singers of Hollywood’s golden age; Doris Day for likability and apparent innocence, Judy Garland for the poignancy. The sunny feeling found in each song is contrasted by tales of heartbreak and missed chances, creating a bittersweet symphony from track to track. The old fashioned air of the songs is contrasted with modernisms, making it slightly more relatable for the average listener. This is most noticeable in the comfortably lazy way in which Deschanel sings about watching Cribs and apparently pities the subject of the show because his materialism showcases his broken heart.
The album’s first single is ‘In the Sun’. Fans of Volume 1 will notice the similarity to ‘Why do you let me stay here?’ This doesn’t take the charm away from neither the album nor the song. As with the first album, there are two cover songs from the era to which they rightfully belong. NBRQ’s ‘Ridin’ In My Car’, a sad song about missing out on love, but teamed with a cheerful little guitar riff. The second cover is a delectably catchy ‘Gonna Get Along Without You Now’, originally by Skeeter Davis, a song which could have been written in premonition to fit Deschanel’s honey-soaked voice.
There is just one downfall on the album, but perhaps it would only be so for the Irish market. A potentially good track, with honest lyrics, ‘Lingering’ still is somewhat spoilt as it sounds like it belongs on a Daniel O’ Donnell album. It takes the country cheese a little further than anyone under 60 sohuld be able to handle. It starts off well, with soothing guitar, until the singing begins. The tune to the song and the tacky Latin-esque acoustic guitar rings too close. The final song on the album, ‘If You Can’t Sleep’, is without qualm the most beautiful of the 13 tracks. it’s just Deschanel’s voice and lulling harmonic hums in the background.
The album may have one or two weakness but it is a delightful listen, guaranteed to lift spirits in spite of the cheerless within the lyrics. It comes highly recommended for anyone who has a fixation with escapism, or anyone who is just looking for a dose of summer in this chilly springtime.