Thursday, June 3, 2010

She and Him - Volume Two

Rating: C-

This is a boring record. It is meandering and self-indulgent. While Volume One was a breath of fresh air, this album blows stale. While Volume One was charming in its reverence for music we haven't heard in forty years, Volume Two is downright nostalgic. Sure, I love it when "Hang On Sloopy" comes on the radio as much as anybody, but there's a reason songwriters introduced polysyllabic words into rock music in the '60's. This album is repetitive and kinda lame and it kinda makes you feel stupider for listening to it.

The highlight is opening track "Thieves," with M.Ward's (the "Him" of the duo) Spanish-tinged guitar over Zooey Deschanel's (the "She") vocals. Her voice is great on this album, even a little more confident than on their debut. But she's dragged down here by her weak songwriting and some lousy choices of cover tracks. "Ridin' in My Car," an inane NRBQ song, contains such insipid rhymes as "Remember last summer when we had the chance / To find each other, start makin' romance?" With Deschanel and Ward, it turns into a Meatloaf-lite call-response song. Originals "Don't Look Back" (out-of-place Greek mythology references), "I'm Gonna Make It Better" (cheesy emo lyrics), and "Over It Over Again" ("Running away from you / Is like running a business" ... really?) are worthy of high school poetry class.

The music isn't much better - it's not bad or cheesy, it's just dull. The album never moves out of its sleepy pace. Volume Two might make for a fine Sunday brunch album if the lyrics weren't so silly, but that's about it. There's little interesting or engaging here; the best I got is "catchy." Disappointing, after an interesting debut.

Buy it from Amazon:
Volume Two
She and Him Official Site