The indie duo of doe-eyed actress and songwriter Zooey Deschanel (She) and musician Matt Ward (Him) are quirky and charming with a whimsical vibe. At first listen they donâ€šÃ„Ã´t seem to take themselves too seriously, but their sentimentality is sincere and their take is unpretentious. Much of their debut, Volume One, has a nostalgic feel with simpler songs and tracks often reminiscent of country music from an earlier, more earnest time.Deschanel doesnâ€šÃ„Ã´t execute vocal acrobatics but has an ability to convey genuine sweetness and emotion on tracks like â€šÃ„ÃºTake It Backâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºI Thought I Saw Your Face Today.â€šÃ„Ã¹ She sounds like a torch singer from 1940s film noir, believably brokenhearted on â€šÃ„ÃºSentimental Heartâ€šÃ„Ã¹.
Volume Oneâ€šÃ„Ã´s old-school country sound really comes through on songs like a cover of The Miraclesâ€šÃ„Ã´ â€šÃ„ÃºYou Really Got a Hold on Me,â€šÃ„Ã¹ made to sound like it was created even before 1962. The lyrics reflect glimpses back in time as well, as on the track â€šÃ„ÃºGot Meâ€šÃ„Ã¹ where Deschanel sings, â€šÃ„ÃºGot me tucked up in your pocket / Donâ€šÃ„Ã´t know how you won my heart / â€šÃ„Ã²Cause I locked it.â€šÃ„Ã¹ On the dreamy â€šÃ„ÃºChange is Hardâ€šÃ„Ã¹ Deschanel sounds like a young Patsy Cline, crooning â€šÃ„ÃºI did him wrongâ€šÃ„Ã¹ over a slide guitar, as if She & Him wore cowboy boots to a luau.
There are more pop-friendly songs as well: â€šÃ„ÃºWhy Do You Let Me Stay Here?,â€šÃ„Ã¹ with a bigger, richer sound and toe-tapping melody, and the quirky â€šÃ„ÃºThis is Not a Testâ€šÃ„Ã¹ fit in nicely. Volume One is a good beginning for She & Him. Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s more about the melodies and vocals than any big, slick production, giving them a charm thatâ€šÃ„Ã´s irresistible.