We can’t be certain how Pennsylvanian producer-singer Dan Vidmar chose his stagename, Shy Girls, but one thing’s for sure: thanks to his SEO-friendly name, Shy Girls will still have his music stumbled upon by lonely boys in search of Miss Right for decades to come. Salt, the debut album from this brand-smart musician, is a modest set of electronic R&B that is impressive as a solo effort.
Seduction is what most of Shy Girls songs are about. They are steeped in romantic tension and the sincere-sounding yearnings of a shy boy. Much of this comes from Vidmar’s voice that’s part Justin Bieber, part The Weeknd. The sublime expression of how mundane life can be on Trivial Motion has a likeable air of Prince to it, while the sensual downtempo of What If I Can – boy meets girl by the bar, and needs to find his inner Bond before he bottles it – is another impressive turn.
Complimenting Vidmar’s touching tones are his moody productions. They range between mellow, downtempo 80s chill (Why I Love), brooding Jamie T-like electro-rock (Watercolour Dreams) and soothing psychedelic R&B.
First time through, and in isolation, many of Vidmar’s songs here are pretty impressive – Salt is nothing if not a focused work. Those familiar with the music of Jamie Woon, James Blake or Jordan Rakei – three of his closest musical contemporaries – will probably appreciate Shy Girls’ music most. However, it can also be unremarkable at times. A song like I Am Only a Man makes less of an impact next to Bad Religion by Frank Ocean. And, for all his sensuality, some listeners will simply find Vidmar’s earnestness just too one-note to truly light their fire.
Salt is an album engrossed by the R&B of recent times. It’s good enough to be a pleasant surprise if stumbled upon while searching for the Pennsylvanian artist’s namesake. There’s no question that it’s more helpful emotionally, and maybe even practically, than Cosmo’s “18 Things You Should Know Before Dating a Shy Girl” – so at the very least those searching Google for dating tips should count themselves lucky.