CD / DL / LP
Easily dismissed as the doe-eyed star of cheesy TV and chick-flick flims, Zooey Deschanel proves on her third She And Him album with M Ward that there’s more to her than meets the eye.
The album is comprised of 11 Deschanel originals, arranged by Ward. Whilst the album doesn’t break any new ground musically, it doesn’t need to, nor does it proclaim to be the future of rock n roll, or even the singer-songwriter genre.
The best moments of the self-penned tracks are where you can imagine driving down one of those straight US highways in an open-top cabrio with no one for company, but the voices coming out of your stereo. I’ve Got Your Number, Son and Somebody Sweet To Talk To are seeped in Sixties nostalgia without sounding dated. There’s elements of country and classic pop on there as well for good measure.
There’s simple tales of unrequited love, lost love, the joy of love throughout the album and Deschanel demonstrates a knack of sweet, but not too sickly lyrics – “I could have been your girl and you could have been my four leaf clover. If I could do it over, I’d send you the pillow that I cry on” that could over the course of an album become a little too much, but which don’t because of the delivery and context of Ward’s arrangements and Zooey’s own stunning harmonies which make their mark across most of the songs on the album.
It’s actually two of the covers on the album that are closest to letting the side down. Blondie’s Sunday Girl is an ill-judged choice and The Raindrops’ Baby doesn’t quite reach the heights of the rest of the album. That said, the highlight is a dreamy, beautiful rendition of Harry Noble’s Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, where Zooey coos “kiss me” and melts the heart of every heterosexual man on the planet.
This is an album for those lazy hot summer days when you’ve nothing better to do than sit and listen to a feelgood record. Forget your preconceptions of its maker and what you’ll find is a beautiful effortless set of songs to close off the rest of the world to. It’s not cool, it’s not hip, but it doesn’t make any pretense to be anything other than what it is. And sometimes that’s all you want from an album.
All words by David Brown. You can see more of David’s work on Louder Than War here