Released on February 6th 2012
Reviewed by Francesca Baker
Atmospheric wind and whooshes, punctuated by the dull thud of bass open Black Currents EP, with Breathe Easy the perfect introduction to Rachel Sermanni’s dextrous shuffles along the fretboard and earthy emotional songcraft. The momentum soars as Rachel sings ‘I hold my hands up, my bloody hands up’, and makes this track a perfect introduction to Miss Sermanni, combining Rachel’s wide eyed gentleness and fierce headstrong music. The round lulling of the words breathe easy and the crisp enunciation throughout make the vocals a delight to listen to. Title track Black Current is a folk ballad, its story telling evocative and execution rich, and Song To A Fox an ethereal journey, undulating between high sweet melodies and almost spoken affirmations, delicate plucking of strings and scuffy guitarwork . Standout is The Fog, the chopping slices of the strings evoke thrashing waves against the rocks of her native Scotland, as well as the relentless rounds of emotions that life throws up.
Rachel’s touring schedule is pretty hectic at the moment, and It’s All Happening! were invited along to see her at the beautiful Union Chapel. Having only ever seen Rachel perform solo with her guitar in smaller, more intimate venues (including our own private gig in the gardens of Brighton pavilion) we were unsure as to whether this sweet young girl would be lost amongst the nine members of her band. Fears were soon quelled, as Rachel vocals and guitar, powerful and raw led the music, absorbed in it but never swallowed by it.
There is a strength and variety in the songs not so evident on The Bothy Sessions EP, possibly influenced by her recent move from Carrbridge to Glasgow, where ‘Jazz, folk, indie – all the spheres seem to meld together and there are no boundaries, which creates an incredibly healthy scene.’ Continuing her friendship with all things Communion based the EP was produced by Ian Grimble, and a solid driven vitality envelopes the record. The only thing he has been unable to capture is Rachel’s off beat quirkyness and captivating balance of blushing shyness and confident mischievous minstrel. For which the only cure is to get to a live show again soon.