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Monday 7.28


She & Him
Cat's Cradle—Even at its most lovesick, Volume One—the debut of Hollywood actress Zooey Deschanel and Portland songwriter and guitarist Matt Ward as She & Him—supplies a coquettish wink. Such flirtation comes largely from Deschanel's AM-dial air, interesting enough to carry the album from up-tempo, retrofitted pop to steel-moan country creepers but inexperienced enough to charm through naiveté. The bleary romanticism of the duo's originals align nicely with choice covers, like a still-and-spare "You Really Got a Hold on Me" or a tender "I Should Have Known Better." The songs come well-suited, too: Ward—who's released a half dozen records via Durham's Merge—treats them with big, jangly acoustics and trebly, tasteful electric leads, and a backing band that includes ex-Decemberist Rachel Blumberg lends professional shape to the winsome proceedings. As fine as Volume One is, though, don't look to be wowed as much as wooed, stunned as much as satisfied. She & Him passes muster with its decades-old inspirations, but that's as far as it goes for now. At least there are worse ways to spend 90 minutes (watching The Happening, for instance). Chicago's excellent country creepers of Freakwater open. The show is sold out, so bring cash and a smile. —Grayson Currin

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