Rachel Sermanni - Under Mountains | Album Review | By Volume

Understand that I am only as he made me: a faithful servant to all of the noise, all of the lights, all of the flashing in my head. Laura Stevenson - Wheel

Rachel Sermanni

Under Mountains

Through a sense of space and melody, Rachel Sermanni delivers a folk record with poise and beauty.

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Author: on September 19, 2012
Middle of Nowhere
September 17, 2012

There’s a gorgeous moment less than a minute into Under Mountains (not to mention all the rest of them) where Rachel Sermanni takes her precious time to form the words she wants to say and it’s abundantly obvious that, whichever way this debut folk-pop record meanders, it’s going to be on the young Scottish songwriter’s own terms. Setting the tone for her first full-length album, Sermanni sounds under no pressure and effortlessly talented inside these acoustic guitars and strings; even at her most passionate in the thrall of the mildly-menacing “Bones”, she sounds clear-headed and stoic.

The soft lilt of Sermanni’s voice is likely to draw comparisons to starlet Lisa Mitchell and the earthy tones of her sound, which strays more than once into a world inhabited by fables and the rustic, further that commendation, but the truth is that Under Mountains has a complex aesthetic beyond such facile descriptions. The fullness of “Ever Since The Chocolate”‘s refrain, a chorus of harmony; the whispered melodramatics of next track “The Fog”: this is a record which touches all bases in the folk arena, and does so confidently. It’s claustrophobic in places, expansive in others; intense at some junctures and calm elsewhere.

It’s this confidence and apparent mastery at such a young age which sets Under Mountains apart from the masses of awkward, unfinished folk singer-songwriter projects. Rachel Sermanni is not just a girl with an acoustic guitar. She’s a multi-instrumentalist, for a start, but I’m pointing far more to her sense of space and pacing. Under Mountains is a proper album, one which holds focus, is capable of both haunting and bouncing, and – perhaps most importantly – never lets up on the melody. And the ninth track’s called “Marshmallow Unicorn”. That should be enough on its own.

Stream Under Mountains.

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