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For an LP likely to be placed in the R&B aisle, Salt is noticeably impressionistic. At times it bears the painterly, frank essence of a Blue/Court and Spark Joni Mitchell. At others, it strides toward the progressive and cinematic. There is a striking viscerality in the crashing percussion and detuned piano of “I Am Only A Man” and in the hypnotic woodwind outro of “What If I Can.” The mournful guitar dressing “Watercolor Dreams” seems to nod to Ennio Morricone — like a future-Western ballad. And even in the stark songs that bookend the album, Vidmar delivers swelling sentiment fit for the screen.
Despite its sonic magnitude, Salt never surrenders its intimacy. Salt was self-produced by Vidmar, who also played and recorded the majority of its instrumentation. The beautiful result is a testament to craftsmanship executed almost single-handedly by one author. Rife with tender imperfections, at its core Vidmar’s heartrending vocals are still as silken as ever, as the singer reaches new heights.
Lyrically, Vidmar explores the ambiguous territory in which many so-called “millennials” find themselves, hovering somewhere amidst a pre-internet nostalgia and post-recession tech absorption. He takes an honest and unflinching look at the tension between growth and decay, existential-level FOMO, and the nagging inertia of time.
Shy Girls first came to attention in 2013 with his slow burning, sax-tinged “Under Attack,” followed by the release of his buzzed-about Timeshare EP and subsequent 4WZ mixtape. Vidmar has collaborated with artists such as Cyril Hahn, Tei Shi, Rome Fortune, Antwon, Junglepussy, and ODESZA, and has toured with HAIM, Little Dragon, and Maxwell. Salt is his debut full-length album and will be released on Jan. 20, 2017, via Hit City U.S.A.