Let’s begin by naming the elephant in the room: ‘She’ is the indie film darling Zooey Deschanel from (500) Days of Summer, whose performance on the duo’s fine Volume One suggested that (unlike the caterwauling Scarlett Johansson) she’s set for a busy multi-tasking career.
As for ‘Him’, he’s the less headline-worthy M Ward, a John Fahey-loving Americana wunderkind who collaborates more often than Akon. As a pair of rose-tinted outdoorsy types prone to teary eyes, She & Him layer dizzying, sun-struck melodies (with much twanging, reverb-heavy guitar and piano) over sweetly naïve love songs. Without Ward’s wonderfully deft touch, Deschanel’s lyrics would be like wading through syrup; as it is, there’s just one mood setting: a hazy, let’s-overcome-our-melancholy feel. But together, these string-laden songs – ‘In the Sun’, with its choir of voices singing out ‘It’s okay’, and the heavenly, clip-clopping ‘Lingering Still’ – have a defiant, vitamin-D-enhanced quality that beguiles.
Available now online.