Sunday, November 06, 2011

A Very She & Him Christmas

The CD cover shows our heroes decked out in retro hipster gear, standing before the crimson curtain, poised to deliver that retro sound we've come to expect: soaring strings with a haunting sha-boom, sha-boom chorus.

The cover, alas, is misleading. A more accurate photographic portrait of the musical contents would have revealed Him in boxers and a beater, and She in curlers and a fuzzy housecoat. Stripped-down is an understatement, and the “retro” these hip-cats reach for is no older than 23 years: the Cowboy Junkies' Trinity Session. There's very little instrumentation happening beyond ward's ukulele-strumming, and Deschanel very occasionally resorts to multi-tracking her voice to provide a sonic palette only slightly larger than the Junkies' singular album. This is much too muted to get noticed at Christmas parties, but it might set a pleasantly contemplative tone for late Christmas Eve eggnog sipping, if that's what you're after. I've got plenty of more satisfying alternatives for that purpose, and would have given this disc a pass if I'd been forewarned. So now I'm telling you.

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