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A Magazine for Sheffield

Neighbour of the Year

Nat Johnson is a composer and arranger of minimalist folk and pop songs. With a voice like daybreak, Nat Johnson sings with heartfelt lucidity about her descent into and out of a really dark time. Neighbour of the Year is Johnson’s first solo endeavour, and earnestly speaks of woes and personal experiences.

Johnson’s tingling vocals layer with sensitivity and warmth, like a lone bird in flight finding its flock upon the approach of nightfall, an intimate musical performance of strength and vulnerability that makes you feel like you can’t fit the petal of a rose between your eardrum and the membranes of your speakers. The multiple harmony canon in ‘I Can’t See You’ bewitches like a chant of mermaids.

A versatile garb of backup instruments accompanies the acoustic guitar arrangements masterfully. Wind and brass instruments, breathy string harmonies mindfully heed the course. A drum set picks up the listeners attention here and there. Gusts of Americana and psychedelia, but mostly close, genuine and irresistible music that is catchy and friendly.

Nat Johnson is a songwriter with clever articulation. The record is symbolically being pressed on a limited edition run of 10” clear vinyl, like a window to the soul, the reflection of Johnson looking outside to vast blue skies. The lyrics inspire and charm you away from your plights and worries with allegoric ease. It encourages you to take a look from the outside to the inside, too. And then walk and run, like a ‘DOG’, or let the little turnips grow in peace under the earth, like on ‘Not Now, Horse’. The title track, with pedal steel guitar and rootsy drumming, infuses a chuckle with a pinch of sarcasm. It is a lovely record that will certainly and hopefully make its way into many people’s hearts. It’s from Sheffield.

Thomas Lebioda