Rachel Sermanni’s music exists somewhere in that state between awake and asleep.
In the more literal sense, her haunting ‘I’ve Got a Girl’ is a slow and menacing dirge about a dream she once had and is like what The Woman in Black would be if it were a song, while the rhythmic and hypnotic ‘Run’ has a dreamy hook of “I’m on my way down, follow me if you want”.
All of these fit the nature of her shows, which are respectfully quiet and delicate, even during the pounding of ‘Tractor’ – all of them come to life when given the space to breathe by an attentive audience.
Though sometimes crowd participation is essential, and ‘Old Ladies Lament’ gives them the chance to hum along to the lullaby-like standout from Sermanni’s latest album Tied to the Moon, making for a soothing accompaniment to Sermanni’s vocals.
Of the older tracks performed, ‘The Fog’’s rearrangement to adapt to the lack of a violin section on this tour is refreshing, with an added acoustic guitar solo and piano-led outro by Jennifer Austin.
Closer ‘Song for a Fox’ is still outstanding, and it makes you reach for your hat and scarf with its ultimately cold-yet-cosy sound.
The real charm of a Rachel Sermanni gig lies in the silences and tales between songs – whether it is an anecdote about being late for a ferry or a menacing intro about nightmares, the added playful commentary brings songs full of life into your reality, inviting you to join her playing in the shadows that make up her music.
There is a quiet confidence and precision to her shows that increases each time she visits Glasgow, and it is a wonder to track one of Scotland’s best young artists as she continues to hone her creativity with each passing show and release.
Words: Scott Wilson
Photos: Debbie McCuish