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Album Review: Shy Girls – Salt

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4/5

With varying and colorful influences from Alan Jackson (via his parents) to Disney soundtracks, classic rock and pop radio during his youth, it’s no wonder that Portland’s very own Dan Vidmar, also known by his stage name “Shy Girls”, has shaken the alternative R&B music scene to its core.  R&B isn’t necessarily something Shy Girls says he “sought out”, it was something that he “just listened to”; in a sense he was drawn to it naturally.  He claims to have not necessarily belonged to a musically-inclined family from his small hometown, but that didn’t stop him from putting his passions to paper.
Having just four years of being in the public music domain, Shy Girls is still relatively new to the music scene with the release of his latest album, Salt. His first debut EP “Timeshare” in 2013 was simply a taste of the potential flair and neo-soul Shy Girls had to offer. With the release of his free 13-track mix in 2015 named after a radio station from his hometown, “4WZ”, he displayed that not only was he taking his time to refine his sound but also to collaborate with various artists such as Tei Shi, Junglepussy, Rome Fortune, and Antwon, further exhibiting his flexibility and diversity.
Now with Salt, it’s very clear that the consistent theme with these albums is, in a sense, captivating and titillating the audience, delivering a sucker-punch to the musical bone at the perfect moments with each song. The combination of a sweet new-age R&B croon over a rollercoaster of melodically soulful beats, such as with “Clean Cut” is the perfect example of Shy Girls’ vision for his music. Lyrically speaking for this album, the funky and sensual song “Watercolor Dreams” speaks volumes, and brings us to the general idea behind the record.
Vidmar explains the deep, visual meaning behind the album art by explaining how he feels he has experienced many “tiny deaths” in his lifetime. He has always fantasized of spending most of his life with the same person or people so that these tiny deaths would become something he could share with them.  He feels the ice block slowly melting and pulling away from itself on the concrete floor on the cover of the Salt album is a perfect representation of this. Salt, as he explains, represents time and how time erodes all that it touches, in this case, the ice block. Ultimately alluding back to how he feels time erodes these tiny deaths he experiences as predominant in his life. Thus the fitting name Salt for this album give a picturesque prompt to long-time Shy Girls fans, R&B lovers, and first-time listeners alike.  Despite Vidmar’s thoughts on the “tiny deaths” remaining a consistent theme in his life, the birth of Salt has us thinking otherwise.

With its lively musical composure and vivacious lyrics, Shy Girls’ latest album has us anticipating nothing but many more great things to come.
Recommended tracks:
Watercolor Dreams
Why I Love
Trivial Motion

FFO:
Tei Shi
ASTR
BASECAMP

Original review by by Ava Hart

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