M Ward and Zooey Deschanel's style, of husky cabaret-folk vocals backed by gentle acoustic guitar, works better on some tracks here than others.
Deschanel's sultry delivery of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" has a pleasingly Julie London flavour to it, and their ukulele treatment of The Beach Boys' "Little Saint Nick" is not without cuteness; but "Sleigh Ride" and "Baby, It's Cold Outside" seem fumbled.
Ward's countrypolitan guitar work on "I'll Be Home for Christmas" is perfectly judged, and when he sings lead on "Christmas Wish", his smokiness is sweetly offset by Deschanel's vocals. The blend of simplicity and sophistication is fairly well suited to the material, avoiding cloying sentimentality and religiose bluster.
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