On Sheffield artist Nat Johnson's newest record, 'Neighbour of the Year', the accomplished alt-country songwriter continues to sing about that oldest of folk rock chestnuts: overcoming. These seven tracks weave strong-willed narratives about personal turmoil and fits them into melodies that can best pass the message along.
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- Neighbour of the Year by Nat Johnson
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9/10 Andy L Customer review, 15th December 2014
There's something comforting about 'Neighbour of the Year', Nat Johnson's solo debut, a warmth and humanity that suffuses the whole record and leaves the listener (or me, anyway) feeling that the world's a nicer place for the experience of having listened to it. Moving into alt-country territory, which usually leaves me pretty cold these days, she covers pretty standard territory of love, loss, regret and dog-walking, but the material takes flight on her spectacular voice, at once world-weary and reassuring, a little reminiscent of Jane Siberry.
The arrangements are also beautiful, with standouts being the almost anthemic opener, 'Not Now, Horse' with it's surges of brass and lyrical wonder, and the gorgeous finger-picking on the exquisitely delicate 'I can't See You' which, like a number of tracks, benefits from Johnson's brilliant multi-tracked harmonies. Daytime exposure from 6music will not, I fear, be enough to make this into anything like what passes for a hit record these days but, as usual, the world is wrong and should be ashamed. One of my favourite records of the year.
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