We were more than happy to have the dulcet tones of Australia’s, Karen Harding in our ears again here at the Send Me Your Ears studio. Drive Away is Karen’s latest single from her forthcoming EP which will be out on October 2023.

Karen’s previous track that we reviewed, ’til The Ocean Meets The Shore, was a calm and gentle singer-songwriter track that we cited as being perfect for sync. It was a warm and positive feeling song about putting our minds to anything we wish to achieve. Drive Away has a darker feel to it. The tremolo strings bring about an ominous feeling of dread and a desire to escape. This fits the subject matter perfectly as Drive Away speaks to how we all felt during the early throes of the pandemic. Daydreaming about getting away from it all and the claustrophobic feelings that lockdown brought.

Drive Away fades in with distant gentle tremolo strings that set the scene. A picked acoustic guitar joins the mix and Karens warm and smiling voice joins shortly after. Another simple track that is based around the vocal melody and the acoustic guitar, Drive Away has some lovely incidental pizzicato strings and some lovely low cello sounds, but the focus here, as with previous Harding tracks, is the vocal and the message of the song.

We like the breakdown with single strummed chords and wailing voices over the top, it leads well into a slightly bigger and fuller sound to end the track. The mark of a good song is one that can, despite the amount of instrumentation, be stripped down to just vocals and guitar. Drive Away definitely has that, and we can imagine Harding performing this well as a solo artist in a performance situation.

From a production perspective, the acoustic guitar is resonating on the F# at 186Hz so a surgical cut here would reduce the peak in the guitar’s tone. The vocal along with the reverb is making the track a little heavy in the mids so a wide cut centred around 750Hz would help balance the track out. This, coupled with a wide boost across the high mids and highs centred around 7.5-8kHz would really help to smooth the overall tone of the song. Using a compressor / limiter to add around 3dB of gain on the master would add to the warmth and fullness of the track as well as bringing the volume more in line with similar releases.

Another warm and gentle track from Australia’s Karen Harding. Drive Away says everything we were all thinking during lockdown “let’s just drive away, it’ll all be OK. Don’t you know there’ll be a better day”.