Zooey Deschanel has exactly the kind of voice you want to hear singing Christmas music: warm, cozy, and just a wee bit coy. You get the feeling she’s winking her way through “A Very She & Him Christmas,’’ which is about as breezy and quaint as holiday albums come.
As half of the indie-pop duo She & Him, Deschanel plays the doe-eyed sweetheart to M. Ward’s straight man. That chemistry works well on their new album, which sticks to secular seasonal fare (Jesus is nowhere in sight) and suits their featherweight treatments of Christmas chestnuts.
Deschanel, an avowed Beach Boys fan, sounds like she’s having a ball on a pair of the band’s holiday classics, “Christmas Day’’ and “Little Saint Nick.’’ Brian Wilson would surely appreciate how her multi-tracked harmonies pile up.
She seems most at home on the songs that let her low croon luxuriate, including spare renditions of “Blue Christmas’’ and “The Christmas Waltz.’’ Backing herself on ukulele on “Silver Bells,’’ Deschanel melts your heart.
She never quite nails the rhythmic swing of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,’’ but that’s when Ward shines on his own. He’s indispensable on guitar, and his effortless fretwork is the best part about “Sleigh Ride.’’
He and Deschanel mine the cheeky humor of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,’’ but they turn the tables: Ward plays the reluctant spoilsport to Deschanel’s pleading seductress. But it’s hard to imagine who wouldn’t want to hole up with these two singing Christmas songs all night.