She & Him drops cozy, if early, Christmas album

Recently, there’s been a lot of Zooey Deschanel to go around. The actress turned singer-songwriter premiered her new television show, The New Girlon Fox, just sang the national anthem at a World Series game and is now ushering in the Christmas season with a new album from fan favorites She & Him — and we haven’t even celebrated (Hard) Halloween yet!

While it seems Justin Bieber is relentlessly trying to snag the 2011 holiday music crown away from all other competitors, if you’re into more mellow, classic Christmas tunes, then She & Him’s A Very She & Him Christmas is more your cup of tea.

The duo released the first single off of the album Oct. 10. “The Christmas Waltz” set the tone for what She & Him fans and jolly Christmas enthusiasts could expect from the new album: simple, honest and tender performances of yule-tide favorites.

A Very She & Him Christmas, which dropped yesterday, boasts 12 songs that are perfectly seasoned holiday tracks.

The set opens with the single “The Christmas Waltz” and keeps a steady pace till the end. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” has an interesting guitar riff behind Deschanel’s soothing, mature voice. Its got that nice, cozy-by-the-fire feeling going on and makes you want to snuggle up with a warm mug of cocoa.

Deschanel’s voice is clearly a driving point of the music. Her oldies-inspired tone shines on “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “The Christmas Song.” But M. Ward’s production is also key in the winning She & Him holiday formula. M. Ward has crafted beautifully simple and endearing arrangements that are in no way sappy and obnoxious — as some holiday tunes can tend to be. He’s found a definite niche in creating beautiful, artistic recreations of the holiday classics.

But if Deschanel’s voice is great by itself, when the duo sings together and harmonizes, sparks fly. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is the greatest example of the duo’s chemistry and artistry.

All in all, there’s no better way to start the Christmas season than with She & Him. But, it’s such a heartwarming album that you might just want to wait until the dust has settled from Hard before breaking open this early Christmas present.

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