She, Him & Us
By Maria Popova
It’s hard these days to spot talented up-and-coming indie acts before they’ve, well, come. And most come big-time — we’re looking at you, Feist on the Apple commercials, Ingrid Michaelson on the Grey’s Anatomy finale and Regina Spektor soundtracking for JC Penny.
Lately, we’ve been obsessed with folk-rock-pop-blues (yeah…) band She & Him — a duo composed of guitarist M. Ward and ultra-talented indie actor Zooey Deschanel, who’s been in just about every good indie movie and made a cameo in just about every progressive TV show over the past several years.
Their sound is distinctly theirs, lingering in that nowhere land where vintage 60’s pop meets today’s most somber-sweet acoustic sets and swells with smooth, hypnotic vocals that take you from childhood carelessness to the melancholic complexity of adulthood. Throw in some interesting instrumentals, like the rock-orchestra drums in Sweet Darlin’, the ukulele in Change Is Hard and the perfectly timed violin in Sentimental Heart, plus the intense lyrical sensibility of tracks like This Is Not a Test, and you’ve got something truly rare.
Our favorite — She & Him’s take on The Miracles’ 1962 chart-topper You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me, a duet vocally and melodically reminiscent of the divine Feist + Constantines cover of Islands In The Stream.
Snag the duo’s debut album, Volume One, to stick in your collection between your A Fine Frenzy and The Bird & the Bee records and play on those eerie October mornings when 8AM and 4PM feel all too much alike.
Published October 7, 2008