She & Him
By David Chiu
‘60s pop, folk and traditional country are some of the dominant styles pronounced on M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel’s excellent follow-up to their previous collaboration. Vol. 2 purely shimmers with lush production, gorgeous melodies and lovelorn lyrics. The duo is unabashed when it comes to paying tribute to their influences: the grand opener “Thieves” is an amalgam of ‘50s country music and ’60s girl group pop; “Lingering Still” evokes Tex-Mex country; “Over It Again” and “Don’t Look Back” capture the Brill Building sound; and the last song “If You Can’t Sleep” is like listening to an old Connie Francis ballad. The album is not short on buoyant tunes such as “In The Sun” and “Home,” a song that harkens the soul-pop of Laura Nyro. The album is so well-crafted and Deschanel’s singing is a throwback to the great pop singers of yesteryear. Vol. 2 doesn’t skip a beat in relation to the first installment—it’s a wonderful pop music album.