Issue 12  •  Spring 2013

She & Him: Volume One

Written by Bernie Laugen
She—she’s Zooey Deschanel, a talented actress, probably best known for her duet with Will Ferrell in Elf. Him—he’s Matt Ward, known to most as M. Ward, one of indie rock’s most talented and accomplished songwriters. Together, they are She and Him, the duo responsible for the refreshingly excellent debut record, Volume One. The story goes that the two met on the set of a movie both were working on (Deschanel acting, Ward manning the soundtrack), and realized they loved a lot of the same music: old country and folk, ‘60s girls pop, and lots of other weird Americana. Deschanel let Ward know she had written some songs, and he convinced her to send him the demos. After hearing and loving them, he was quickly won over and talked her into recording with him.
She—she’s Zooey Deschanel, a talented actress, probably best known for her duet with Will Ferrell in Elf. Him—he’s Matt Ward, known to most as M. Ward, one of indie rock’s most talented and accomplished songwriters. Together, they are She and Him, the duo responsible for the refreshingly excellent debut record, Volume One. The story goes that the two met on the set of a movie both were working on (Deschanel acting, Ward manning the soundtrack), and realized they loved a lot of the same music: old country and folk, ‘60s girls pop, and lots of other weird Americana. Deschanel let Ward know she had written some songs, and he convinced her to send him the demos. After hearing and loving them, he was quickly won over and talked her into recording with him.

The result of this chance meeting is the record, Volume One, an anachronistic mix of the aforementioned influences. The duo effortlessly blends ‘60s girl group harmonies with country and folk arrangements to create songs that are instantly warm and recognizable. Those who have listened to Ward’s solo records should be familiar with this feeling. Deschanel’s vocals are charmingly endearing and welcoming, if at times a bit limited. Her strength is certainly in the beautiful harmonies. The real treat is when Ward steps out from behind the producer/player role and lends his vocals to Deschanel’s songs—The Miracles’ “You Really Gotta Hold On Me” instantly comes to mind. Deschanel’s lyrics deal with love, mostly love lost, and are a compliment to the overall feel of the songs. Ward’s production is intimate and his guitar playing impeccable, again a compliment to the feel of the record. She and Him sounds so comfortable together it’s as if they could be a long lost duo from the golden days of country and western. Usually I would shy away from the whole actress/musician thing, but with results like Volume One, I can’t wait for Volume Two! Definitely check this record out.

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