Last summer, before the mopey indie breakup movie (500) Days of Summer came out, we said that its lead, Zooey Deschanel, was "as sweet as freshly microwaved pancake syrup". And, well, have you seen her? She is! She is like a little retro indie-boy's wet dream, with her bangs and meow-meow-pussycat smile and cute little pleated retro dresses. But you may also know that Zooey sings in a little outfit (not a clothes outfit! a music outlet!) with the singer-(sick!) guitarist M. Ward, an outlet called, adorably, She and Him.
Last night, amid vomit-inducing heat, they played Terminal 5 in New York City for a crowd of white female Zooey wannabes in cute little retro print dresses and white male Zooey wanna-bangs (the wannabes' boyfriends!) in tennis sneakers and ironic nerd glasses. The whiteness/cuteness could get a little stifling, like the heat. But all that aside, you can't deny the smoky, drowsy goodness of Zooey's ever-more-full-bodied voice, the catchiness of She & Him's super-retro-rockabilly-girl-group songs (especially "Ridin' in my Car", that song bangs!), the angelic delightfulness of The Chapin Sisters singing backup or, most of all, the driving, kick-your-butt guitar potency of M. Ward and his other two strummers (plus Zooey occasionally on ukulele, not to mention pounding a Wurlitzer. A Wurlitzer, girl! Too damn cute!).
M. Ward can pull some sick, New-Year's-Eve-1963-in-Reno licks out of his guitar, and he and Zooey sound sweet singing together. When not singing, Zooey jumps up and down with her huge tambourine, and, toward the end of the show, she seemed to get everyone onstage doing that, too, even some of the dudes. Which was, of course, not just adorable but adorbadle! (That's the new way to say "adorable" when it's just too adorable to be just adorable.)
-- TIM MURPHY
Previously > Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go... and Call the Cops