Recorded as a stripped-down, semi-acoustic album, A Very She & Him Christmas sets aside the chiming girl group-meets-country atmosphere of Deschanel and Ward’s earlier albums; they pare their arrangements down and let Deschanel’s voice do more of the work. Without a jangly, lo-fi wall-of-sound to buoy her, her voice sounds more vulnerable. Interestingly, Doris Day or Patti Page come to mind, with Deschanel revealing herself as a retro-hearted Blue Velvet crooner. M. Ward sings on a few tunes too, notably the finely-textured “Christmas Wish” and a slightly rushed rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” His guitar work is typically far-ranging, spanning surf, twang, jazzy pop and folk, providing sparse, precise accompaniment and a dash of zippy sleigh-ride fun. It ain’t quite Bing Crosby, but get yourself an eggnog or two, and you’ll never notice.
Lawrence Kay, Google Play