Volume 3

Call it the curse of a trilogy or blame it on lead singer Zooey Deschanel’s busy schedule on New Girl—one of the best sitcoms currently running—but She & Him’s Volume 3 feels half-hearted and disjointed. On many tracks, such as “Turn to White,” “Somebody Sweet to Talk To” and “Snow Queen,” Deschanel’s vocals and M. Ward’s music seem unaware of each other. There’s no conversation between his simple melodies and her raw-but-beautiful voice. It’s as if Deschanel is singing someone else’s songs with perfect understanding of the music and little insight into the emotions behind the notes. Of the 14 tracks—three of which are covers—there are noteworthy exceptions. “London” gives Deschanel permission to writhe in the melancholy she seems to want to bring to nearly every song. It’s haunting and beautiful in its sincere sorrow. “Something’s Haunting You” could fit in a dark and twisted 1920s Disney cartoon; the vibraphone is a fun, slightly spooky addition that turns personal demons into living ghouls. While Volume 3 doesn’t live up to the duo’s previous work, there’s enough here to keep fans interested in a Volume 4.