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Album Review: She & Him – Christmas Party

2 min read

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.

She & Him - Christmas PartyThe 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.