She & Him, the folk-pop collaboration between alt-country troubadour M. Ward and indie actress Zooey Deschanel, had one of the strongest debuts of 2008.
The album's combination of bright '70s AM pop and early '60s folk was a smash success and found a wide audience. Naturally, expectations were very high for the follow-up.
Luckily, the duo was more than up for the challenge. Their second album, Volume Two, features the same bright, infectious tunes that made the first album so beloved. This album is just so happy and optimistic that it's impossible to feel sad while listening to it. It's just too much fun.
This is especially true on "Ridin' In My Car," a duet between Ward and Deschanel. It has a pastoral feel that seems to evoke the memory of a summer long ago spent with a long lost love. It has a strong nostalgic feel, which makes it very emotionally resonant.
Equally as contagious is "Lingering Still," a beautiful romantic ballad. The song is so warm and heartfelt it seems like it might be a long lost radio hit from a bygone era, but it's just another home run by this incredible team.
In many ways, this album feels like a continuation of the first album. The lead single, "In the Sun," is the perfect sequel to "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here" off the previous album. Their cover of Skeeter Davis' "Gotta Get Along Without You" seems analogous to their rendition of The Beatles' "I Should've Known Better".
The pair's ability to craft memorable, emotional music is truly a marvel. They have chemistry unlike any other. It's amazing how well their vocal and songwriting skills gel together.
This is simply a stupendous record. The pair manages to carry on the vibe of their first album, without having it grow stale. It's nothing short of a triumph.
Twice as nice