Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"She & Him, the duo of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, maintains its early-1960s retro cool on its Christmas album. In mostly familiar songs (though NRBQ’s “Christmas Wish” is tucked in), the arrangements are selectively sparse: often a lone acoustic or electric guitar, or even just a ukulele, behind Ms. Deschanel’s doe-eyed, seemingly guileless voice. When a choir of vocal harmonies suddenly floats in, or Mr. Ward’s guitars multiply (with nods toward the Beach Boys), they’re like friendly phantasms, sweetly evanescent." -The New York Times
Spin (p.79) - "The mood ranges from melancholic to lighthearted, with nods to various Crooners of Christmas Past throughout."
Magnet (p.59) - "The light and chipper songs are the most charming -- 'Sleigh Ride,' 'Christmas Day,' the Ward-sung 'Christmas Wish'..."
Personnel: Zooey Deschanel (vocals, ukulele, piano); Jim Keltner (percussion).
Audio Mixer: Tom Schick.
Recording information: Kingsize Soundlabs, LA; The Magic Shop, NYC.
Photographer: Autumn de Wilde.
Drawing inspiration, both musically and artistically, from classic holiday offerings from the likes of the Carpenters, the Beach Boys, and Vince Guaraldi, M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel's third outing under the She & Him moniker finds the impossibly quirky duo tackling its first collection of Christmas music. A Very She & Him Christmas is all about the kitsch, from the retro packaging complete with a hyper-stylized photo shot by photographer Autumn De Wilde and liner notes in the form of a signed Christmas card, to the swingin' choices, many of which are culled from the aforementioned Carpenters/Beach Boys outings. Musically, the duo keeps things simple, utilizing guitar and vocals, peppered with the occasional bit of percussion, ukulele, or organ. Deschanel handles the majority of the leads, and when she stays in a lower register ("The Christmas Song," "Blue Christmas") the results can be winning, especially when they're slathered in classic, Les Paul/Mary Ford-inspired slapback delay. However, busier cuts like "Sleigh Ride," "Little Saint Nick," and "Christmas Day" reveal a charming yet pitchy vocalist with all of the inflections of a classic torch singer, and none of the discipline. ~ James Christopher Monger