Portland, Oregon based alternative R&B singer-songwriter and producer, Dan Vidmar, has been writing songs and gaining critical acclaim as Shy Girls since 2013. From his debut EP, Timeshare, to his free mixtape 4wz, Shy Girls has garnered heavy traction on the internet, leading him to open up shows for artists like HAIM, Maxwell, and Little Dragon. Shy Girls has now moved upward and onward from the opening act to the headliner, and has now given us the first full album, Salt.
Opening tracks, usually titled Intro, are merely kick starters put at the forefront of LPs to set up an easy transition into the hit singles of the record. Vidmar, instead uses this as an opportunity to get a mouthwatering taste of Salt by setting everything up as if it were an overture in a musical. His beautiful, wordless vocals and graceful piano set the scene perfectly for the somber affair. Vidmar lays his heart on the table in You Like the Pain Too, showing tortured vocals and lyrics that collide fluently off bruised instrumentation. The track slowly marches until it reaches an unexpected and abrupt halt, taking the heart along with it.
A hint of spite permeates through Watercooler Dreams with its bitter lyrics and a slough of vocoder tricks. The track’s eerie atmosphere ends with what sounds like synthetic wind leading into the hit single, Trivial Motion. The song begins with lush synthesizers, but quickly transforms into a minimalistic flow letting Vidmar’s soothing voice speak entirely for itself. The album's second single Why I Love acts as a callback to the R&B hits of yesteryear with vocals and lovelorn lyrics reaching up to a crisp falsetto.
The remainder of the album sees Vidmar’s talent displayed as a truly honed craft. Closing the album with Collecting, Vidmar’s heartbreaking crooning slowly marches along until the song, and the entire album flutter out into nothing. It's a rare gem in a time of standoffish lyrics to find an artist that will let their heart out on the line, truly evolving into a master of their own craft. The holistic feel of Salt highlights and proves that there is talent and emotion behind Shy Girls, coming together as full testimony to Vidmar’s ability.
- Richard Murray, POW! Magazine
This review was written by Richard Murray, of POW! Magazine. POW! Magazine supports D.I.Y. San Francisco Bay Area music and many current genres and styles throughout the world. Get the full scoop, here: POW! Magazine.