Sheffield might not be the first place on thinks of when it comes to Celtic punk, but that’s exactly where Shanghai Treason hail from. For the uninitiated, it might seem like little more than drunken folk music, Billy Bragg with bagpipes and a beer belly. For those of us in the know however, it’s a rallying cry, a call to arms, a message to rise our pints aloft, kiss whatever grizzled punk happens to be sweating next us, and just get right involved. Shanghai Treason’s latest single ‘Emerald Causeway’ is no different. From those first opening notes of plucked banjo it’s clear we’re in familiar, yet welcome territory.
Taking more the Flogging Molly route than that of the Dropkick Murphys, (to use two lazy comparisons), ‘Emerald Causeway’ harbours more traditional folk leanings than other bands in their genre; the crisp banjo forming the track’s backbone, while a steadfast drumbeat and rumbling bass bolster its bottom end.
The only criticism would be in the track’s production, and in that there are occasions in which the track should punch harder than it does. This could quite easily be attributed to the feeling that it was recorded live, something that succeeds in capturing the sheer energy of Shanghai Treason, but falls a little flat where otherwise it should really hit home.
Aesthetic quibbles aside however, and ‘Emerald Causeway’ is a hugely enjoyable barn-stomping single that feels like being invited into a ceilidh, having a drink pushed into your hand, and being told you’re not in work on Monday. Three minutes of pure uplifting escapism that everyone could use once in a while.