If you’re still unfamiliar with the multi-talented ways of Zooey Deschanel, her vibrant music output may come as a pleasant shock. Aside from gracing the screen with steady appearances in a slew of films since the late nineties, her spare time sees her join Matthew Ward as the vocalist for folk-rock and indie-pop duo She & Him. With a gentle and loving twist on sunshine-surf rock and jazz-tinged alternative folk music, the pair has rounded out the year with a second Christmas album, fittingly titled Christmas Party.
The record marks the Portland duo’s sixth studio record and their second Christmas themed album. Drawing deep into eclectic notes of calming indie textures, She & Him add their own spin on a select number of Christmas classics such as; Run Run Rudolph and Happy Holiday. Whether it’s the swinging contemporary country-esque visits in All I Want For Christmas Is You or the soft and slow folk moments in Winter Wonderland – the pair has brought a physical and valuable dynamic to the traditional songbook. Zooey’s innocent and dainty vocal gloss sits behind lap steel guitar slides and robust bass lines in tracks like Mele Kalikimaka – a certified island Christmas hymn. Plenty of fireplace-worthy tracks consolidate the record sleeve – You can clearly hear the moving moderations inside the impressive and refined serenading strength of Christmas Memories. The album’s merry crystal, however, is perhaps the bonafide neo-classic Let It Snow. A breezy and gently plucked acoustic idea works easily before transcending below jazzy drum brushes. This progresses into a thoughtful vocal invitation as Deschanel’s subtle and organically sung comforts take hold – unquestionably placing it among the better pieces arranged by the duo.
The record works as a special gift to those who look for something relatable in a Christmas album other than the widely covered track selection. There’s an individual sense of unique reinterpretation here. It works as a jovial and easy insight into the many creative passages that the duo unfolds in their songwriting and style – an artful and genuine contribution to a precious and meaningful festive season.