She & Him come to First Avenue


The beautiful duo of She and Him will play this Thursday at First Ave. The artists are Portland’s Matt Ward and L.A.’s Zooey Deschanel. It’s the pairing of an indie-star and a star-star. The songs are folk-country. The sounds are soothing. And despite all efforts by Scarlett Johansson to prove otherwise, Hollywood actresses can sing.

The story of She and Him starts with the Christmas tunes Deschanel performed in the movie Elf. Truthfully, it’s not really the start of the group. Check Wikipedia for the backstory. But it did provide a huge indication that Deschanel has some country-alt-lounge-singing pipes:

Meanwhile, Matt Ward, known better as M. Ward, was busy perfecting his craft. In 2006, his album Post-War came out. Within the catalogue is a song that can actually cure the forlorn. It’s called "Chinese Translation," and it talks about a man traveling about the seas and mountains in search of wisdom. He wants to know what to do with the pieces of broken heart. Somehow, watching the video two years later, it still has an impact. Listening to Ward is like getting a soul massage. Experience it for yourself:

So when these two combine their powers, the effect is cute, but not quite twee. Ward’s instrumental prowess keeps things moving along with rhythmic depth. And this allows Deschanel to explore her voice. She powers through songs with vocal flips up the register. By the end of the album you forget that she’s an actress. And what do we get with all this? A morbid pop video complete with cartoons. Enjoy:

She & Him. Thursday, August 7th at First Avenue. Doors open at 6pm. $16 ($18 at the door).

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