[PREMIERE] Awkward Branches – A Distant Room

Based between London and Bristol, Awkward Branches are the duo of singer, keyboardist and former Fiction frontman Mike Barrett and close collaborator and guitarist Phil Swan. Although Awkward Branches only emerged in October last year, the pair have been collaborators much longer, playing together as part of other projects including Mike’s dream-pop project, Brand New Moon, and with 6-piece experimental collective, Holy Island Sketchbook. The seed of Awkward Branches was planted many years ago during writing sessions in Wales but went through a fairly major evolution with Phil’s relocation to Bristol, with much of the musical dialogue moving to snippets sent over email and ideas discussed over phone calls. The result of this ever-evolving approach is the band’s debut EP, Melody for a Friend, due out at the start of May via Tip Top Recordings, which they’re showcasing today via the record’s penultimate track, A Distant Room.

Photo & Header Photo by Natasha Cox

Awkward Branches’ music could probably loosely be described as folktronica, a world of bright melodies, twitching electronics and propulsive rhythmic bass lines, nodding to the likes of Here We Go Magic or Grizzly Bear. Here we find the band in particularly dreamy mode, as the buoyant bass loops step amongst waves of slide-guitar and choppy processed beats.

Lyrically the track seems to have a certain thoughtfulness, as Mike sings, “I know the shapes of these words but I can’t speak them”, before touching on the song’s themes of isolation and departures, “I hear you all the time, from a distant room”. Later a subtle swap of phrasing changes the feeling, “I hear you all the time, saying come back soon”. The song never really reaches a crescendo, instead, it’s a track in the image of its creators’ own journey, a steady ebb and flow, always evolving, taking its time and ending up exactly where you want it to be.

Melody For A Friend is out May 4th via Tip Top Recordings. For more information on Awkward Branches visit https://awkwardbranches.bandcamp.com/.

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