Volume Two

Album Review of Volume Two by She & Him.

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Volume Two

She & Him

Volume Two by She & Him

Release Date: Mar 23, 2010
Record label: Merge
Genre(s): Indie, Rock

76 Music Critic Score
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Volume Two - Very Good, Based on 12 Critics

Filter - 86
Based on rating 86%%
86

A couple of years ago, after recording a Richard and Linda Thompson duet with M. Ward for an indie film soundtrack, actress Zooey Deschanel mustered up the gumption to send her singing partner a secret shoebox of songs she had been saving for a rainy day. Ward was impressed, to say the least, and what followed was She & Him’s Volume One—a collection of polychromatic love songs with audible ties to ’60s AM gold.

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AllMusic - 80
Based on rating 8/10
80

Whether they’re copping the Brill Building sound or resurrecting ‘70s beach-pop, She & Him always seem to have nostalgia on the mind. These 13 tracks hail from an imaginary, sepia-toned world in which Richard Carpenter is king and Ron Burgundy is on the tube, and even a handful of contemporary references (“Talking on the phone and watching Cribs/He doesn’t know what kind of guy he is”) does little to transport the listener back to the 21st century. Like the previous album, Volume 2 would suffer under the weight of its own pastiche if it weren’t so darn endearing, filled as it is with call-and-response vocals, studio reverb, sweeping orchestrations, and other bygone tricks of the trade.

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Drowned In Sound - 80
Based on rating 8/10
80

Anyone who has seen the video for She & Him’s latest single ‘In The Sun’ (video) will know that they are a band who live on a diet of joy and fun. Like a cooler version of Britney Spears' ‘...Baby One More Time’ the short sees Zooey Deschanel endearing herself to the last few indie boys who have not fallen for her, singing and dancing her way through school canteens and hall ways. Watching on is her bandmate M.

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NOW Magazine - 80
Based on rating 4/5
80

Welcome to Volume 2, the second release by cute-as-a-button Zooey Deschanel and quirky romance-soundtrack-meister M. Ward, aka She & Him. [rssbreak] It's largely a continuation of Volume One, so if Deschanel's occasionally off-putting intonation isn't too much for you, this sweet romp through a warm, largely carefree universe should nestle naturally into your listening rotation.

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Entertainment Weekly - 79
Based on rating B+
79

For almost a decade now, the droll, doll-faced actress Zooey Deschanel has served as Hollywood’s unofficial ambassador of Alt Whimsy — a hipsterette pinup flitting breezily between the worlds of indie quirk and showbiz gloss. After years of dabbling with singing on the big screen (see: Elf, Yes Man) she finally went all-in with She & Him, a shamelessly retro, grammatically iffy pairing with lauded folk troubadour M. Ward.

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Pitchfork - 76
Based on rating 7.6/10
76

It's really not supposed to go this way. Actors from Eddie Murphy to Don Johnson to Lindsay Lohan record albums so that we can laugh at their hubris and casually dismiss their efforts. The story is so common it's created a Hollywood archetype: the actor-turned-singer-turned-punchline. But Zooey Deschanel is rewriting the script.

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Prefix Magazine - 60
Based on rating 6.0/10
60

A fundamental question about She & Him has been floating around since the project’s announcement in 2008: Would the duo of M. Ward and sometime-actress Zooey Deschanel be a hot indie property if Deschanel were replaced by some unknown but equally as talented singer? Certainly the project would have gained notice due to Ward’s status, but would anyone have high expectations for Volume 2, the band’s second disc? Because when you get down to it, She & Him is notable for what it's not. Deschanel isn’t another starlet who thinks she can sing because she’s famous now; her decent set of pipes can pull off some serviceable Linda Ronstadt-esque ballads.

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PopMatters - 60
Based on rating 6/10
60

She is Zooey Deschanel, the indie-film dream-girl of ice-blue eyes and sardonic manner. Him is M. Ward, the singer-songwriter with the sepia-toned voice whose old-timey tunes sound like they ought to be broadcast through a phonograph cylinder. Together they created one the most delightfully unexpected musical treats of 2008, a relic of mellow ‘70s AM gold, blending rich girl group harmonies and with fragile Laurel Canyon folk-pop.

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The New York Times
Their review was positive

ALAN JACKSON“Freight Train”(Arista Nashville) Over the last decade the country star Alan Jackson, who even at his most pugnacious possessed a parental sort of certainty, has only become stiller. Maybe it was 9/11, which prompted “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),” one of his finest songs, or maybe it’s the calm and complacency that often comes with age. Whatever the case, Mr.

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Austin Chronicle
Their review was positive

These days, every screen queen thinks she's a pop princess (see: Johansson, Scarlett), but Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward prove with She & Him's sophomore album that 2008's Volume One was more than a serendipitous tryst. While its sequel lingers in the same pop nostalgia, Deschanel vocalizes with a more natural confidence, and Ward's production feels fuller and slightly more adventurous.

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Paste Magazine
Their review was generally favourable

Twice as niceBy Matt Fink She & Him’s debut was a simple affair. Zooey Deschanel’s homespun grace and M. Ward’s unobtrusive production made for a winning combination—which means they risked a lot by making a followup album as complex and ambitious as this one. On Volume Two, swirling strings and lush backing vocals underscore Deschanel’s increasingly sophisticated songwriting.

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Paste Magazine
Their review was only somewhat favourable

Twice as niceBy Matt Fink She & Him’s debut was a simple affair. Zooey Deschanel’s homespun grace and M. Ward’s unobtrusive production made for a winning combination—which means they risked a lot by making a followup album as complex and ambitious as this one. On Volume Two, swirling strings and lush backing vocals underscore Deschanel’s increasingly sophisticated songwriting.

Full Review >>