Sunday, October 10, 2010

VOLUME TWO - She and Him (2010)

Whether one prefers She & Him's Volume One or Volume Two (assuming one likes their lovingly rendered but very cutesy, amateurish spin on 60s and early 70s AM pop at all) depends in large part on whether one values high points or consistency most in the albums they own.

On the plus side, Volume Two is definitely the more consistent, accomplished effort. The song writing is stronger, the musicianship and vocal performances better, the arrangements full and lush. Fans of this trendy type of folksy retro-pop will find much to like here, and for them, this is a solid recommend.

But I myself really miss that oh-so-charming 1-2-3 kickstart of Sentimental Heart, Why Do You Let Me Stay Here, and This Is Not A Test that opened Volume One. They were great songs. Volume Two has none. So I still prefer Volume One over Volume Two, even though probably every track on Two is better than anything on One aside from those three songs.

Also, where as Volume One was M. Ward lending a seasoned hand to help Zooey bring her songs to fruition, this is very much a straight up collaboration, with M. Ward's deft, self-assured but never swinging for the fences sensibility often overpowering Zooey's more earnest and ambitious but less skillful strivings, and as a result, the charm factor is seriously diminished this time out.

So a mild recommend from me, just no track individually good enough to move this effort into higher recommend territory or sustain my interest, but again, there will be many who hold this album in much higher regard, so if you're still intriqued, definitely check it out.

Status: Mild Recommend.

Cherry Picker's Best Bets: Thieves, Lingering Still, Home, Over It Over Again.

Component Breakdown:
1. Thieves - 8
2. In The Sun - 7
6. Me and You - 7
8. Home - 8
10. Sing - 7
Intangibles - Low

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