Music / Premieres
Video Premiere:
Claire Birchall - Song For The Man In The Moon
Words by Conor Lochrie
Tuesday 17th November, 2020
Seven months after the release of her latest album Running In Slow Motion, Melbourne DIY rocker Claire Birchall has shared with us a clip for album highlight ‘Song For The Man In The Moon’, a space-age visual accompaniment that transforms the track’s emotive synth-pop into something even more cosmic.
Nothing is sacred anymore in the year of 2020 and so the stellar Melbourne musician Claire Birchall has adopted an old-school approach: the release of the video for her song ‘Song For The Man In The Moon’ comes months after the album it is taken from came out. Running In Slow Motion was actually released back in April (via It Records) but the arrival of COVID-19 gave Birchall the time and space to get creative.

Birchall had been doing live streams from home and making appearances in online festivals but spotted the opportunity to explore deeper an album that never got the tour or publicity it otherwise would have received in a normal year. She made the clip with her partner Matt Green during the strictest lockdown periods in Melbourne. The sense of meaningful exertion - of necessitated distraction - is palpable in the video. Birchall made and painted both the space costumes and starry backdrop; once the video had been filmed, she edited it all herself.

A long-standing member of Melbourne’s rock community, Birchall’s participation in it has lasted for essentially the entirety of this young century. Her debut album, Captain Captain, was released in 2001; she then fronted indie rock outfits like Paper Planes and Claire Birchall & The Phantom Hitchhikers; she played in the garage country rock band The Happy Lonesome; she’s now a member of Kim Salmon’s band.

Running In Slow Motion was both a return to solo work and the lo-fi experimentation which defined her debut release. A multi-instrumentalist, Birchall played everything from the guitar to the keyboard, the mandolin to the xylophone on Captain Captain. It sounded like the (un)fashionable fuzzy DIY of artists like The Microphones, Jeffrey Lewis, and Badly Drawn Boy that were prevalent at the turn of the millennium. For her first foray into electronic music and aiming to present a unique approach to the genre, she recorded Running In Slow Motion using synths and drum machines while retaining the lo-fi 4-track aesthetic.

The result is an icy and claustrophobic take on synth-pop. The ten tracks on Running In Slow Motion are dramatic and theatrical, serious and emphatic, and ‘Song For The Man In The Moon’ exemplifies these attributes to the greatest degree. The song is about losing a sense of belonging and dreaming of faraway places. As the earth turns to shit, Birchall has turned her eye to the sky, in search of an escape. “Send me into outer space / I can’t find my place anymore / And no one is around to keep me on the ground,” she cries, a sentiment that feels immediately relatable in 2020.

The momentous drum machine propels the melancholia skywards - the song could easily soundtrack the third act of an 80’s sci-fi film, the moment when the action intensifies as it rushes to its galactic climax. “Hey, hey is there anybody out there?” It’s a fair question from Birchall. The video peters out backed by what sounds like a muffled radio transmission: if anyone truly is out there though and they received contact from earth, perhaps they’d do well to turn the proverbial lights off and pretend no one’s home.

Running In Slow Motion is out now through It Records - head to to grab the album on limited vinyl.