Label: Domino Release date: 05/04/10 Link: Myspace One thing is for sure, She & Him are not going to win any prizes for the naming convention they have developed for their records. Where exactly to go off the back of a debut album called Volume 1? Yep, you've guessed it, Volume 2... Genius... Who'd a thunk it?... Thankfully though, there's a lot more substance behind the content than the title may indicate. She & Him are the ridiculously hard-working and talented duo of M Ward and Zooey Deschanel. He is a Monster of Folk when he's not recording and releasing his own solo albums and she is the indie darling of Hollywood and a certain Mrs Ben Gibbard. Together they have already enchanted the indie scene with their surprising and delightful debut record that was pretty much universally praised. So does the follow up live up to the highly anticipated billing? In short, Yes, just about. M Ward's arrangement of the dozen tracks on the record is virtually flawless and the vocal performance from Deschanel is sweetly endearing (verging on sickly sweet at times). This helps make the record easily accessible and almost as instantly charming as its predecessor. Something else going for this record is that it is just unfeasibly catchy. Singer/Songwriter/Multi Instrumentalist Deschanel can sure write a tune with a hook that sticks. Proceedings kick off with 'Thieves', a dreamy sounding ballad that sounds like it was written 60 years ago. From there we're hit with lead single ‘In The Sun’ which comes complete with a chorus more infectious than can possibly be healthy. The video also features a terrific take on Britney Spears' (Hit Me) Baby One More Time only with the twee-o-meter ramped up to 11 (see below). If all that isn't quite enough for you, it features fellow indie-stars Tilly and The Wall on backing vocals. As was the case on Volume 1 the record includes some non-original material, this time round there is just the one cover, Skeeter Davis' 'Gonna Get Along Without You' which turns out really successfully and is one of the highlights of the album. The cover material aside, there's nothing overly 'new' about this record, but, what it lacks in originality, it more than makes up for in its charming sweetness. It still manages to create its own niche in an industry packed with folky singer songwriters aligning itself more closely with the all-girl bands from the 50s and 60s. Just listen to 'Over It Over Again’, a prime example with Tilly and The Wall's sassy backing vocals it sounds not unlike The Shirelles or one of their counterparts. All in all Volume 2 is perhaps more of a sequel to, than a progression from, She & Him's debut record. As is so often the case in the movies, at times, you get the impression you've seen it all before. Then again, when it's this pair doing their catchy 50s pop, that familiarity is no bad thing. I'm looking forward to the next installment already. Prequel anyone? Photobucket