Friday, May 21, 2010

He She Blues


Quirky is a tough musical commodity to sell, cause what can be charming one moment can be irritating the next. And so it goes with the second Zooey Deschanel / M Ward venture Volume Two. Going by the name She and Him, the free spirited duo craft retro pop penned by Deschanel and produced by Ward. They've done a credible job overcoming claims of "actress vanity project" by crafting music that has a distinct feel. Sort of like Roy Orbison backing The Dixie Cups is how I could describe their sound. A twangy innocence.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first two tracks on this disc, the Orbisonish drama of "Thieves" and the nigh Brady Bunch pop "In The Sun". "Thieves" in particular has an ancient yet timeless tone of forlorn regret that's hypnotic. Lead single "In The Sun" plays well off the deadpan lilt in Deschanel's voice and Ward's sharp guitar.

After those two songs, things get patchy. The slow melancholy of "Me and You" or the satisfying early 60s styled popper "Sing" are nice tunes to enjoy on a quiet breezy day. But for every winner there's a clunker like the annoyingly repetitive "Over It Over Again" or the super twangy "Lingering Still".

This probably would have been a better listening experience as an EP, a 20-25 minute set instead of a full album. There's some good mojo in the concept, just not enough to flesh out a complete disc. Is there still hope for some official Muschausen By Proxy?

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