She & Him A Very She & Him Christmas

She & Him A Very She & Him Christmas
Holiday music is arguably the most reviled, yet fascinating, music genre ― especially Christmas. Good for approximately one month out of the year, nearly every album released contains the same traditional songs and yet somehow manages to sell strongly each and every holiday season. She & Him (the spirited duo of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward) have now entered their woolly hats (and mittens ― you can buy an official set with the album as a bundle deal) into the ring with the aptly titled A Very She & Him Christmas. Anyone familiar with Deschanel on screen or off will know she's cut out for this gig, and she doesn't disappoint. Her classic throwback vocal style is warm and smooth, going down like that perfect cup of eggnog on favourites like "I'll Be Home For Christmas" and "Blue Christmas." But if you were expecting a companion to Phil Spector's A Christmas Gift For You, you'll be surprised by how sparse and stripped down they've made the arrangements. Leaving it mostly just vocals and Ward's acoustic guitar (a sign of the small window they had to make the album), She & Him don't phone it in with just minimalism. They know how to make the most out of each song, like bringing in a full band for an adorable duet on "Baby It's Cold Outside" (which we originally heard Deschanel sing with Will Ferrell in Elf) and using the ukulele and a choir for the Beach Boys' "Little St. Nick." Only time will tell if this turns into a holiday staple, but She & Him have made one of the more charming and genuine (read: not a cash grab) Christmas albums in years. We can only hope they continue to help save holiday music. You just know they have some Halloween songs written just in case the label asks. (Merge)