On "Vol. 2" (Merge), She & Him - also known as Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward - pick up where they left off on their memorable debut. Deschanel's timeless country croon and Ward's lush, guitar-dominated backdrops both feature a bit more confidence and swagger this time around. On "Thieves," Ward surrounds Deschanel with glorious Roy Orbison-inspired orchestrations, while holding back on the restrained girl-group homage "Over It Over Again." In return, Deschanel's pretty vocals can even make tough lines such as "Orpheus melted the heart of the Persephone, but I never had yours" work in the streamlined context.
SHE & HIM: "Vol. 2"
BOTTOM LINE: Gorgeous, brainy alt-country