CD REVIEW: Dan Vidmar exhibits vocal range on Shy Girls’ mixtape ‘4WZ’

Dan Vidmar, aka Shy Girls, recently released an album of original dance- and hip-hop-influenced pop “4WZ.”
Dan Vidmar, aka Shy Girls, recently released an album of original dance- and hip-hop-influenced pop “4WZ.” Photo provided

Artist: Shy Girls

Album: “4WZ”

Central Pennsylvania native Dan Vidmar (recording as Shy Girls) wants everyone to hear his new full-length mixtape, “4WZ.” Vidmar expresses an impressive vocal range while borrowing from hip hop, pop and electronica genres while the title pays homage to the local pop radio station he grew up listening to, 3WZ. On this album, he collaborates with a variety of hip-hop and pop producers and artists to record a calm club record.

What Shy Girls’ record may lack in complexity, it more than makes up for in passion. Vidmar’s voice effortlessly forms solid tone and channel, and the strength of his tenor range is comparable to hip-hop singers like R. Kelly or Usher. His melodies move across the digital landscape with grace and precision.

Songs like “Renegade” prove his vocal ability as well as his production skills. The 27-year-old musician finds his groove easily and rides it comfortable. “Clean Cut” demonstrates a creative approach to electronic hip-hop, with its array of volume swells and mutes, creating a unique and catchy hook to spit his haunting melodies. The opening track, “Out of Touch” is a darkly ethereal groove built around Shy Girls’ impressive vocal range. The dubstep-influenced drums move the tune into a progressive electronic funk that never truly explodes, but teases.

“4WZ” is clearly Shy Girls’ love letter to not only the music he covets but also to numerous lost loves. Other artists featured on the record include rapper Antwon (whose voice is somewhat reminiscent of Notorious B.I.G.), female rapper Junglepussy, featured on the albums most arpeggiated song “Always the Same,” and Rome Fortune.

The only problem with this album is an overt sense of consistency. While Vidmar knows his strengths and plays to them, he seems at times to be unwilling or incapable of exploring beyond his safe zones. No doubt as his career evolves, so will his music.

“4WZ” is free to download online.