In a pinch, Sorry About Your Daughter can open for itself. When the D.C.-based combo found itself without an opening act while touring Germany, guitarist Jeff Aug and vocalist Glenn Hall created a side project to fill the bill. Christened Brandon, the impromptu duo survived, and released its debut CD, Age of Awakening, on College Park’s Diesel Boy Records last month.

Like most side projects, Brandon represents something of a departure from its members’ regular gig. While SAYD turns out muscular, bass-driven alterna-rock, the duo’s acoustic outing is characterized by earnest harmonizing and augmented by such instruments as the cello, viola, tenor recorder, glass harmonica, and lute. Indeed, the disc opens with a syrupy cover of Billy Bragg’s low-tech classic, “A New England” (which, unfortunately, establishes that such lines as “All the girls I loved in school are already pushing prams” sound ridiculous delivered in an American accent).

Slickly produced by Brooke Delarco and one-time Oingo Boingo bassist John Avila, Awakening undergoes frequent mood swings. “Photography” is a somber ballad that features a lush cello part (as well as the line “I blow my nose in the tissue of redemption”), while the band sounds appreciably like Hootie and the Blowfish on the propulsive, radio-ready “Stars of Dover.” As is the case with so many contemporary rockers, the band’s biggest liability may be an excess of seriousness. On Awakening’s inner sleeve, for instance, the lyrics to “6,000,000 Reasons” appear over a montage of Dachau photographs. CP