Upbeat, energetic and brimming with pop nostalgia, new album ‘Big Star’ is quintessentially Katy Steele

Subscribe to Forte Magazine


Upbeat, energetic and brimming with pop nostalgia, new album ‘Big Star’ is quintessentially Katy Steele

Credit: @michael_tartaglia
Words by Alex Callan

Big Star was an enormous DIY effort, two years in the making; lovingly co-created by Katy Steele and her partner Graham Mcluskie from their home studio.

Considering the name that Katy Steele made for herself as the lead presence of Little Birdy, her debut solo album Human should have received more attention than it did. 

Released in 2016, Human marked itself as a transformative album for Steele, offering soulful disco grooves and synth-heavy ambience as a stark replacement for the melancholic post-grunge stylings of her work in Little Birdy.

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

But while it was an album that saw Steele experimenting with her sound in exciting new ways, it was a release that fell flat with its shelf-life largely struggling to maintain prominence past a short run on triple j’s ‘What’s New’ rotation.

The same won’t be said about her second studio album Big Star.

Sure, it continues to propel the anthemic pop stylings that some Little Birdy fans struggled to connect with on Human, but this time around it feels much more memorable, with Big Star delivering a powerful blend of Steele’s iconic vocals alongside the greatest elements of pop music, both modern and nostalgic. 

‘Come And See Me’ ties in ’80s synth-pop ambience with shimmery Fleetwood Mac-inspired earworm melodies, ‘Falling Apart’ melds lo-fi techno sensibilities alongside sparkly alt-pop rhythms while title track ‘Big Star’ sees Steele experiment with elements of gospel in her vocal cadence.  

While it’s evident that Big Star was written from a much happier perspective than Steele’s work in Little Birdy, it does feel like it has less to say. But with grand arrangements, synth-heavy tonal qualities and shimmering pop-rooted guitars now acting as the pillars of Steele’s sound, you’ll still have a lot of fun along the way.  

Release date: 09/06/2023

Label: Independent