Mike Barret and Phil Swan announce new project Awkward Branches with debut single ‘A Frame (Not a Window)’ out today via Tip Top Recordings

by the partae

Awkward Branches is the new project of singer, keyboardist and former Fiction frontman Mike Barrett and close collaborator and guitarist Phil Swan. Today they share their debut single ‘A Frame (Not a Window)’ via Tip Top Recordings.  

After writing and performing with each-other in numerous other projects – including a 6-piece experimental collective (Holy Island Sketchbook), gothic trio (Sweet Heave) and as part of Mike’s dream-pop project (Brand New Moon) – they felt it was finally time to put a name to their own project, and thus Awkward Branches was born.

Appropriately, the pair first met standing under a much-beloved tree in the gardens of an old wedding chapel where they both worked. While waiting for ceremonies to run their course, talk would often turn to music. United by a shared appreciation for ambient soundscapes and buoyant melodies, they tentatively began recording sketches; ideas which grew over several years, without hurry, into a handful of fully formed songs.

‘A Frame (Not a Window)’ is the first single to be shared from forthcoming debut EP due out next spring. The debut single is a tranquil sun-flecked number, driven by bouncy acoustic guitar and verdant synth, with tender vocals that speak to the nature of trust, faith and dogs. The song is complemented by a charming animated video, created by Mike Barrett, that satisfyingly mirrors the colourful textures and sanguine spirit of the song itself. Barrett on the video: “The video began life as a simple zoom through abstract spaces, inspired by a craft-paper collage Phil had made as a potential EP cover. Using a blend of hand-drawn elements, original footage and AI-assisted animation techniques, it soon evolved into a somewhat labyrinthine journey across a variety of fantasy landscapes, culminating In the slightly tongue-in-cheek / slightly deadly serious ascension to heaven for the final scene. Mostly it was a chance to indulge my affection for kitsch architectural forms, potted plants, and – in a nod to the first line of the song’s lyrics – the illusive joy of dogs”.


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