ALBUM: Under Mountains – Rachel Sermanni

I found Rachel Sermanni during Fin Greenall’s recent Perfect Darkness tour; the Scottish singer songwriter had been supporting Fink across Europe.

I didn’t see her perform, it was another dark haired songstress at the Birmingham gig, but after Google searching my curiosity I found a bevy of online broadcasts. Hhmmm, ‘Breathe Easy’… alright, let’s give that a listen then.

Under Mountains is Sermanni’s debut album, released on Sept 17th – with limited edition artwork for those that pre ordered. And in short, it’s brilliant. If singer-songwriters are your sort of thing.

In a slightly more voluble evaluation, Sermanni’s storytelling solos drag you into a world of mellifluous yet dark mystic; an ethereal wilderness of lonely seas, opaque landscapes, and Robert Burns homage.

For the most part it’s just girl and guitar, which is the Sermanni I knew through YouTube and Vimeo – and that’s sufficient. Her sonorous vocals strong enough for any balcony, empty room or circling traffic.

Songs like ‘The Fog’ and ‘Eggshells’ heed warnings I don’t fully understand, but follow to the note; whilst ‘Ever Since the Chocolate’ and ‘Sea Oh See’ paint lullabies of strange intent, accompanied by considered keys and violin.

The occasional studio harmony can stomp its way into a few tracks, tainting the otherwise sublime ‘Sleep’.

Whilst a slightly overbearing approach to violins can also detract; a peak-too-soon crescendo drowning some of the fiery build in ‘Bones’ – a track that shows an encouraging fight to Sermanni’s vocals.

But when the production succeeds, as in the soft keys closing out ‘Song to a Fox’, it’s magical. An obvious word but one I’ll stand by using. In fact I’ll say it again, MAGICAL.

My only real gripe would be sequencing (I wouldn’t have opened with ‘Breathe Easy’, a song so beautiful it makes me want to use the word ‘weep’), and the unfortunate fact that over 50% of the tracks had been previously released.

Although considering I’ve had Under Mountains on repeat since last Monday, and bought two copies – one on download, one with limited edition artwork; I suppose I’ll live.

And I look forward to settling all outstanding accounts with album two.

Under Mountains is out now, available in store and online. For more on Rachel Sermanni, including available releases, visit

 Rachel Sermanni headlines The Studio Room at The Glee Club on Sept 27th. For details on this, and other gigs at the venue, visit