I am pretty ambivalent about She & Him. I like them; I dislike them. From day to day, I never know how I feel about them. I have legitimate complaints about the band (they are far too cute for their own good), but I also hold grudges against them that are patently unfair (they are fronted by a movie star). And although I liked their debut album enough, I wasn't clamoring for another outing from the duo. But goddam if "Thieves," the newest song to leak from the album, doesn't confuse the situation a bit. The song is 4 minutes of perfect pop. It splits the difference between ballads from the 1950s and AM country from the 60s, and is a terrific combination that works better for the band than anything else they've done.
Deschanel's voice sounds markedly different. While she once sang directly from her diaphragm, she's now squeezing out the song from the bottom of her throat. The trick lends some sobbed-out sorrow to her heartbreaking lyrics. I don't know if it makes me excited to hear the rest of the album ("In the Sun" is pretty forgettable . . .), but at least I have a song to lean on if I remain indecisive about She and Him.
Vol 2 is due on March 23rd on Merge.