Sheffield Shanty is a dreamlike portrait of an alternate world that’s deftly painted in both the detail of its charming words and its languid music, subdued acoustic guitar and xylophone glittering like the stars used to navigate in it. Most exceptionally, despite its playfulness, it’s also a song soaked in an almost supernatural calm. To some extent the feeling is down to the sheer spaciousness of it, the willingness to let silence creep in at the edges, but it goes beyond that.
The plot in short: the city is flooded, "the seven hills became seven seas", but there are houses to be sailed, flags to fashion, and somehow everything’s coming up Nat Johnson. When ‘still the rains come’ it’s not with fear or foreboding, just with a powerful, unhesitant, acceptance. Listening feels like luxuriating in a world where time stands still and all worries are gone, all pressures are off, even as its images remain desolate.
It even pulls of breaking into Paul Simon without damaging the mood in the slightest. Plus "when you call me, you can call me... Captain" and the guitar sigh that follows is a moment that’s heart-warmingly affectionate and intimate. Then off we drift, towards High Green, with all the time in the world.