She & Him are back with the same sunny, whimsical pop that made “Volume One” so endearing.
“Volume Two,” follows similar themes as the first: love and relationships make up a bulk of the album, while singer and lyricist Zooey Deschanel also covers topics such as lack of sleep and loss of control.
She also seems to have a penchant for shelves and smiles, which was apparent in the last album, but the small amount of repetition is insignificant when considering the ingenuity with which she brings everything together. Deschanel’s sweet voice adds to the sincerity of her straightforward lyrics, giving every song an old-fashioned tint.
On the Him side of the duo, producer and multi-instrumentalist M. Ward delivers a flawless sound that far surpasses that of the last album. Ward brings in a vast array of instruments like the mandolin, strings, petal steels and a synthesizer to create their singular sound.
With titles like “Ridin’ in My Car” and “In the Sun,” as well as images of sand and daydreaming, the album can’t help but evoke the laid back California feeling that seems to radiate out of both artists. Still, the duo occasionally trades in their trademark lively folk for a softer, more melancholy sound heard in “Me and You” and “If You Can’t Sleep.”
As is typical of She & Him tracks, worries over unrequited love and sadness end with either confidence in life’s continuance or a blithe removal from the real world. In “Theives,” Deschanel sings, “sometimes lonely isn’t sad” while in “Brand New Shoes” and “Home” she would rather run away or forget about her problems.
Either way you look at it, the singer wins in the end. As does this album; it is a beautiful mixture of sounds and ideas that are perfect to get lost in, whatever your mood.
“Volume Two” by She & Him
Rating: 3/4 stars
Released: March 23, 2010
Label: Merge Records
Produced by: M. Ward