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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 21 July 2008
I have to say I was a bit sceptical when I heard M.Ward was going to be collaborating with an actress - Zooey Deschanel. His solo work is so amazing that I thought this would fall well short. How wrong I was - it's not his usual style, instead of the bluesy, slightly gothic folk that he usually produces, this is a more country tinged collection of songs, sung very ably by Deschanel. M. Ward takes a more understated role, demonstrating what an accomplished guitarist he is, but not overpowering the records, instead allowing Deschanel to shine through.

The standout tracks for me are 'Why do you let me stay here?' with great guitars, tambourines & a country rock feel, and 'I thought I saw your face today' which is just beautiul, sung in such a dreamy wistful way. There isn't a dud song on the album, ok so maybe the Beatles cover 'I Should Have Known Better' isn't that great, and M. Ward's backing vocals are a bit cheesy, but even so it's got a certain degree of charm.

This album is a throwback to classic 60s/70s pop, it reminds me at times of Dusty Springfield or even Doris it's never going to be called groundbreaking. However, what I would call it is a charming, uplifting, well produced album. It puts a smile on my face everytime I listen to it
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VINE VOICEon 24 September 2008
Well if Scarlett Johannson can do it, why can't Zooey Deschanel, teaming up with singer-songwriter M. Ward, have a go as well? But whereas Scarlett went for an album largely based on cover versions, only three of the tracks on Volume 1 are covers (and one of those is the hidden track Swing Low, Sweet Chariot).

And, ahem, covering them first would give you a distorted view of the album as a whole. You Really Got a Hold on Me is superfluous at best and whilst the cover of the Beatles I Should've Known Better has some merit, it does come perilously close to pastiche and/or novelty. Luckily the majority of the self-penned tracks are a hell of a lot better.

The vibe is something akin to 60's pop (provided by Deschanel's melodies and lyrics) meets 50's Nashville (provided by Ward's arrangements) with a little bit of folk added in for good measure. Any notions that this is some form of vanity project from the actress is quickly dispelled by the realisation that she can sing (having already proved it to some degree in films, even if most people would remember her singing alongside Will "I'll say the name of my character over and over again because it's so hilarious" Ferrell in Elf) AND has a voice that can fit a number of styles. She can croon on Take It Back just as well as she can be playful on I Was Made For You. Mind you, would you expect anything less from an actress?

For all the positives, I can't say that I find the album a complete knock out; it's a little too slow paced, with faster, more upbeat tracks like This Is Not A Test tending to prove more memorable (a fact not helped by the fact that most of these tracks are at the beginning of the album) and where it's most obvious modern point of reference for comparison, Jenny Lewis' Rabbit Fur Coat had a heart and a soul, Deschanel's lyrics do tend to verge on cliche at times.

Still, it's a strong debut album which certainly leaves you hoping that you will get to hear a Volume 2, with the hope that more pieces of the puzzle may just fall into place next time around
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on 9 July 2009
I wached yes man and really liked Zoey Deschanel's voice, so I bought this. I have to say that I was expecting a 'side project' sound and production, but what I got was a polished end product. The album is a welcome throw back to late sixties pop folk but in a very relaxed style. I would highly recommend it!
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on 11 July 2012
I bought volume two first, and i do this with a lot of artists i tend to buy their second albums first. I loved volume two but i bought volume one and i was a little dissapointed. the songs are sadder and less cheery which is different from the second album. its got good songs but if u want a good album buy volume two
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on 8 September 2009
This album is timeless, yes you can say it sounds a bit like this or that era, but when you add it all up it doesn't fit nicely into any category. Which makes it unique, which makes it an accurate reflection of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward's personality's. The album comes across as heartfelt which is all I ask from a performer. I love the way that like minds gravitate towards each other, Zooey and Mark met on the set of The Go Getter for all who didn't already know, a very sweet little movie that if you haven't already seen you should, add it to your to rental list and you won't be sorry you did.
The only problem with the album for me is it does leave you wanting more, much, much more. I have even taken to collecting the various recordings Zooey has floating about out there, mainly found on the soundtrack albums from her movies and from the work she did with Coconut records. And it still isn't enough, the album is enchanting and haunting at the same time and this is largely due to M. Wards very soulful performance.
M. Wards back catalog is now a staple of my music catalog too although I did edit out a few songs as I always do even with the best artists out there, not that there's anything wrong with them, just that I like what I like and I try to thin my collection down all the time so as I only have my absolute favorites on rotation, the fact that I have 27 tracks of his in my playlist give's you some idea of how highly I rate him personally.
Needless to say, I highly recommend giving the album a try, I can't see how even the most discerning of music connoisseurs could find fault with it.
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on 17 April 2012
Unbelievable vocals from the beautiful and talented Zooey Deschanel, aided by Mark Ward. Reminiscent of the best female vocalists of the fifties and sixties. The clarity of the vocals and purity of tone make this must for real music lovers.
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on 26 February 2010
I was dissapointed on my first and second hearing of She and Him. I loved her voice in Elf and the tunes she sang in the movie. The songs on the cd are mainly her songs so reflect her feelings and taste of music. Her wonderful voice is slightly lost in the mix/ effects and so does'nt shine through as I would have liked. On further listening she hits home with some nice retro sounds on I was made for you and Sweet Darlin. Not so sure with Black Hole mmm. Over all, it's okay but not a killer.
Also no photo's of her or the musicains on the cd or the sleeve notes. Oh well.
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on 15 February 2011
A lovely indie album from She and Him, with a very 1950s style sound. Most people will know the band thanks to Zooey Deschanel's success as an actress, but she also makes a surprisingly good musician, and not at all what you would expect from an actress-turned-singer. The tracks are varied in style, but all have a lovely indie feel to them and with lyrics such as 'I'm alone again on a bicycle for two' this is expected!

A good purchase, well worth a listen.
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on 17 May 2010
I now have both Volume 1 and 2, and both are brilliant, though in my opinion this one just edges it. All the songs are very good, but for me This Is Not a Test and Black Hole are stand-outs. The album has a kind of old-fashioned feel to it, which I think makes quite a refreshing alternative to much of the music that comes out today. Check out a couple of the songs beforehand if you haven't heard them before, but you can't really go wrong with this album.
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on 10 May 2013
Brilliant album. Such a 50s nostalgia to the music. Great lyrics, very nice music.
One of the best acts of this century.
CD and case are in brilliant condition.
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