michelle sutton – reliable witness

Here at the Send Me Your Ears studio today, we’ve been listening to the latest single from Michelle Sutton. Sydney, Australia artist, Sutton released Reliable Witness on May 5, 2023.

Reliable Witness is a song Michelle needed to write to reclaim the narrative from men in authority who were discrediting her character and ruining her reputation. It is a tongue-in-cheek and defiant feminist song.

The song fooled us at the start, with country-style electric guitar strums, we felt this was likely to be an all-out country song, but as the song moved through different sections, it was clear that this is a genre-crossing track that draws influences from indie-pop, bedroom pop and the occasional hint at Taylor Swift’s stylings.

A reverse cymbal brings the main song in, and a lower-pitched, palm-muted guitar takes the rhythm before building into a full electronic drum sound.

The vocals are bravely up-front and un-affected. The focus is on getting her message out, and her voice demands attention.
The song has several different sections, giving the listener something different to focus on at all times, whilst returning to the chorus often, to underline the message of the song. A filtered drum section breaks up the verses that slowly fades into a full EQ spectrum kit that builds into the chorus again.

There is plenty of rise and fall in this track, together with a complete rhythm change, with drums dropping out for the breakdown.

We like the harmonies that come in in the final chorus. They are beautifully subtle and sit nicely behind the lead vocal, bolstering it and make it sound thicker and fuller.

Ideas from our ears

A hi-pass filter at around 45Hz would remove a lot of sub-bass rumble, allowing the rest of the track to breathe a little more. A cut in the 200-250Hz range would reduce some boomy/muddy sounds and finally, a cut in the vocal track around 800Hz would control a slight peak in that area. The whole track is compressed very heavily and to our ears could benefit from a lot less compression, allowing the dynamics to come through better. As always, these are just some ideas from our ears.

Final thoughts

Reliable Witness is a very interesting mix of genres. For fans of female empowerment songs, indie pop, bedroom pop and defiant storytelling of one’s personal truth.