wed 17/07/2024

CD: Paolo Nutini - Caustic Love | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Paolo Nutini - Caustic Love

CD: Paolo Nutini - Caustic Love

The pretty boy from Paisley ventures into new territory

Nutini: movin' on

In the five or so years since Paolo Nutini’s last release, the profile of the tousle-haired Scotsman has hardly diminished. Ladies, of all ages, continue to find his raspy voice seductive whilst his laid-back style still gets of the nerves of many men. Or should I say laid-back styles - for Nutini's first two albums were nothing if not eclectic. Caustic Love, however, is appreciably more coherent. 

The overriding mood is a Seventies-ish mix of blues, soul and funk with a strong undertow of Al Green. But whilst the tone is defiantly retro, Nutini’s gravel voice prevents tunes like “Let Me Down Easy” from feeling too formulaic. Indeed, the whole album works best where Nutini emphasises his vocal and melodic identity. "Better Man” - the most familiar sound on the album - leaves you with a satisfying warm feeling, whilst the slinky “Fashion” featuring Janelle Monae is a right hoot. It also emphasises how much sounding footloose and upbeat suits him; something that is further underscored by the foot-tapping “Scream (Funk my Life Up)”, and the cheeky “Numpty”.

But the album also introduces us to a fair chunk of Paolo’s serious side. Here the results are more variable. The lounge r'n'b of "Diana” feels stodgy and “One Day” lumbers on. Still, the growling "Iron Sky" - the highlight of the entire album - makes a pretty decent case for Mr Nutini dropping the 'fun-dude' persona. Whether, in furture, he'll be able to keep up such gravitas remains to be seen, but if he can, he could certainly have a crack at the kind of power-folk that Ray LaMontagne peddles. In the meantime the majority of Caustic Love's soulful tones represent a pleasing progression from previous offerings.  

Overleaf: Watch Nutini perform "Iron Sky" in session

The growling "Iron Sky" makes a pretty decent case for Mr Nutini dropping the 'fun-dude' persona


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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