|Recording information: Jackpot!, Portland, OR; Magic Shop, New York, NY; Sonic Trout, Cape Cod, MA; Sound Factory, Los Angeles, CA.
|Always looking backward to the sunny sounds of the '60s, She & Him often feel like a band out of time, a pair of pop dreamers born too late to be a part of the musical scene they've painstakingly crafted a pastiche of with their third album, Volume 3. Like the previous two volumes, the album finds collaborators Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward diving headfirst into the sunny, lovestruck sounds of Brill Building pop with a splash of country twang for good measure. While this means the album doesn't do a lot to distinguish itself from the pair's early efforts, it certainly doesn't diminish its effortlessly enjoyable sound. In a way, this kind of anonymity seems like a part of the bands M.O. Sure, both of the players here are famous in their own right, but rather than slap their names on the album, they gave the project a perfectly pleasant, albeit generic name. And rather than giving the albums a cute title, they're given the archival title of "Volume." All this speaks to a desire to simply let the music exist on its own, classically pop, terms, allowing listeners to get swept up in a song like "I Could've Been Your Girl" not because it has that lady from the movies in it, but because it's the kind of breezy, melancholy pop that's really easy to fall in love with. Three albums (plus a Christmas record) in, you're either on board with what She & Him are doing or you aren't, and if you're stone-hearted enough to not be into the band by now, Volume 3 isn't likely to sway you. However, for those of you already caught in the band's spider web of eternal summer, this album delivers the goods. ~ Gregory Heaney