sat 19/10/2019

CD: She & Him – A Very She & Him Christmas | reviews, news & interviews

CD: She & Him – A Very She & Him Christmas

CD: She & Him – A Very She & Him Christmas

Hollywood kook Zooey Deschanel's alt-indie duo goes Yuletide

She & Him: is everyone ready for their Christmas twee?

There are plenty of recent examples of videogenic movie stars embarking on questionable musical pursuits, from Keanu Reeves to Scarlett Johansson, to name two whose rhythmic careers should have been throttled at birth. Zooey Deschanel, Hollywood's go-to kook, has actually recorded some remarkably pretty music. Volume One, her debut album with M Ward, the other half of She & Him, was as fine an example of tweetastic vintage-store pop as you would come across this side of Belle & Sebastian. Cute as a kitten and just as playful.

In fact, Deschanel excels at wistful, shimmery, Sixties-influenced anthems. So it is a pity that her band's new festive season album largely dips back further into musical history to offer a selection of mostly familiar standards that require real vocal oomph to make them swing, but instead have to rely on the singer's trademark fluffy style. Thus we get "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and "Blue Christmas" in an absolutely stripped-down form, which lays bare the thinness of Deschanel's range. This candy-floss concoction makes Phil Spector's Christmas Album seem like the latest release from Rammstein.

As much as I love this twosome there is not much to get a purchase on here. M Ward's sparse guitar contributions on tracks such as the k.d. lang-ish "I'll Be Home for Christmas" are economical to the point of credit-crunch frugality, while Deschanel's croon on The Beach Boys’ "Little Saint Nick" would blow away on the slightest breeze. All of which is not to say that A Very She & Him Christmas is unpleasant. In fact, as dinner-party background music it might well go down as smoothly as a bottle of Baileys. But if you want something to grab you around the neck and demand your attention, you've definitely stumbled into the wrong place.

Watch She & Him perform "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?"

Ward's sparse guitar contributions are economical to the point of frugality

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article

Comments

I'm not sure I understand wtf is going on in this video, but it's Zooey, so that's okay.

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature

★★★★★

A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway

 

Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.

 

★★★★★

This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman

 

Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.

 

Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.