Sorry Justin Bieber - of the Christmas records out this year I recommend checking out She & Him’s A Very She & Him Christmas. Unlike many other competing seasonal albums, this one doesn’t suffer from over-production. The vibe is one where you are relaxing by the fire, drinking eggnog while your friends Matt Ward and Zooey Deschanel serenade you with some of their favorite holiday tunes. The instrumentation stays tastefully understated: sparse guitars, light percussion and some BrianWilson-inspired harmonies thrown in for accents. The mood remains warm as Zooey’s honey sweet voice croons out some of the best tunes in the Christmas canon, “The Christmas Waltz,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “The Christmas Song” and so on. They even dig out an obscure Beach Boys holiday gem, “Christmas Day” as well as their better-known “Little Saint Nick” – although, the latter doesn’t compete the original. A minor problem is that the record stays very chilled-out and doesn’t really change gears very often. However, She & Him’s solid takes on “Sleigh Ride” and on Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” provide nice momentary changes in tempos and are the record’s peppiest songs.
All in all, A Very She & Him Christmas is a very pleasant holiday album. Essential tracks to add to your seasonal playlist are the album’s opener, “The Christmas Waltz” and “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” as well as Matt and Zooey’s vocal duets on “Sleigh Ride” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.