Image copyright she & him and Zooey Deschanel.
Though you may know Zooey Deschanel from such celluloid fare as Yes Man, (500) Days of Summer, or perhaps even (for the Landmark Cinema crowd) The Go-Getter, but her collaboration with M. Ward has proven to be significantly less than a drag. Deschanel has truly proven to be a renaissance woman of sorts, perfectly transitioning from actress to singer. The band is called She & Him and as the title suggests it is only Deschanel and M. Ward. Though at times it can sound like the most saccharine of the positively pop, upon closer inspection you will notice a more somber tone within the lyrics. I call it Revival Motown in reference to this lyrical phenomenon. They also put their own spin on classics that cannot be described as covers alone. They are more like cellophane wrap because of their transparent idolatry and reverence for what came before and their willingness to effortlessly decorate it with a modern acoustic flare. Never has the twentieth century sounded more crisp. Deschanel herself writes all of the original songs and has a penchant for a gentle voice that sounds low and quiet even when it isn’t. No belting of songs here because the punch is in the lyrics so it would be easy to see many FM junkies not getting the point of it all. However, even if you do prefer Destiny’s Child over Dusty Springfield, you have to agree that She & Him produce quality indie pop/folk/country in a way that is accessible to all parties involved. In favor of the high production values and glossy noises (if sheen had an onomatopoeia), you get what you pay for. It’s bare bones with a bit of flesh attached to it, and what results is not that dreaded semi-insult easy listening, rather something we as a collective ear have heard only sparsely. And that’s what I call actual music.
She & Him: June 7th
Millennium Park at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion
201 E. Randolph St.
Admission is Free
Also Playing: The Chaplin Sisters, Hollows