Saturday, 18 February 2012

Single/EP Review - Rachel Sermanni - Black Currents EP

This month's EP is from another artist that I really hope gets the recognition deserved this year.  Having tipped her (I know, check me out thinking my opinion matters!) for 2012 late last year, it's a pleasure to have the official first EP out and in the public ear.

First things first, that is a very nice cover.  Shades of The Cure - 'Disintegration' about it, dark, broody, it intrigues me in a very intriguing way.  Simply put, I like it.

The opening track is called 'Breath Easy', which is a song I've heard live before, most notably from a Radio Scotland session.  An earthy bass plods gently through the song, lending weight to the theory less is more.  Sermanni's voice is very fragile, fleeting like the gentle breeze.  Anything more than the light piano and violin background might shatter the spell created.  Sermanni's music is very much folk, and this is clear front the off. All the ingredients are here, and this sets her a little bit apart from others of the female singer/songwriter category at present.

'The Fog' is the next song, and in my opinion the strongest on the EP.  Again, I've heard this song in it's live version, and the recorded version has a very finished feel to it.  A haunting acoustic intro leads into Sermanni's voice, which is at it's strongest on this track, switching from soft like Norah Jones to powerful like Adele, all with that charming Highlands twinge.  Musically, there's an eerie, 'what's around the corner' feel to the song, violins picked, urgent drums, and a sense of dread at every note.

The only song that I haven't heard previously on this EP is the title track 'Black Current'.  A song about a dream, which intersects with reality at points, the songwriting and thematic content has all the bear marks of Jeff Buckley, and in this song especially, Sermanni's voice is strung over the track with a carefree, yet completely intended, manner.

Closing track 'Song To A Fox' is another live favourite, and here demonstrates the wonderful use of space and atmosphere that this EP has in abundance.  Nothing is overstated or over seasoned, and Sermanni has done a wonderful job of retaining the real feeling that one gets from her stripped down acoustic performances.

Overall this is a wonderful collection of songs, crafted incredibly well, and captive enough to wish that there were more than four tracks.

Buy Rachel Sermanni - 'Black Currents' on CD here or in any good independent record shop.  Download available via iTunes

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