ALBUM REVIEW: Katy Steele – Human
Ever since I first heard that Katy Steele was releasing a solo album I have been very un-chill about my excitement towards this project. “Human” is an album that could have never been released by Little Birdy and that is a great thing. This album perfectly captures who she is as an artist and provides a collection of dark, bold and reflective tracks. The Indie pop/rock sound is driven by dark synths and a strong gospel direction with the harmonies and production. Album opener “Diamonds” begins simplistically with her powerful vocals leading a percussion beat before launching into a 80’s reminiscent chorus. While this may be my personal favourite on the record she doesn’t completely stop there. Lead single “Where’s The Laughter” continues the gospel harmonies and 80’s vibes but don’t let the positive melody fool you as she explores the moment you let go and allow yourself to look back at the things that have happened previously and find the strength to laugh. “No Slave” was probably the most surprising track on the record as it is a bold, dirty synth track about taking ownership of yourself and creates this liberating feeling while listening.
One thing that is prominent on this record is that Steele hasn’t forgotten how to write a kick ass catchy hook. “It Ain’t Me” provides the biggest hook and probably the most gospel influenced production on the album which is then closely followed by the indie pop ballad “Play The Game”. With a strong first half the album beings to lose momentum with the forgettable ballads “Rescue Boat”, “Lasers” and “Everywhere With You”. The songs just lack the power, strength and emotion the other tracks embody and compared to “Lonely” and “Signal To You” which are the albums defining ballads they just fall to the background. However her vocals remain in the instantly recognisable powerhouse range that will have continuing to listen. During her promotional shows she premiered the title track song which failed to make the track listing and I’m very confused as to why. Not only did it electrify her set but was also a key centrepiece to the overall message and sound she was trying to deliver.
“Human” is a strong debut that will introduce listeners to her unique sound as a solo artist and avoid comparisons to Little Birdy. But the second half is unavoidably dry and listeners may find it hard to connect all the way through.