Album Review: Caustic Love by Paolo Nutini

April 7, 2014

Paolo Nutini -Caustic Love

Out 14th April on Atlantic Records

Where has Paolo Nutini been the past five years? Spending the fruits of his labour on his last album, which he charmed the nation into buying 1.9 million copies of? …Giving his ‘Pencil full of lead’ a meet and greet with all his groupies?… Or working on the best songs of his career? Chances are it could just be all three. Paolo’s blowing his previous perceived parameters of music style out of the water and proving he has that mature edge.

It’s fair to state that this album completely flips anything you thought you knew about Paolo Nutini. From his first album ‘These Streets’ with uplifting skippy tracks like ‘Jenny Don’t Be Hasty’ and ‘New Shoes’ and tender and soulful tracks like ‘Last Request’ . To his second album ‘Sunny Side Up’, which brought saucy metaphor songs like ‘Candy’ and elevated Paolo to a household name.

With ‘Caustic Love’ Paolo proves he is not a dinner-party-safe choice like the likes of Adele.

Single, ‘Scream – Funk Up My Life’ immediately throws you into the new funked up attitude with stirs of sexual innuendo (‘I’m coming over her like gasoline’) Elements of jazz influence are meshed seamlessly into this song with the addition of a horn section.

Elsewhere, the focal bass notes in ‘Let Me Down Easy’ gives the track bluesy ambiance to go with the mellifluous vocal tones.

The two interludes on the album, ‘Bus Talk’ and ‘Superfly’, add an energized and ingenious entrance for following tracks. ‘Bus talk’ interlude includes a high pitched ‘Tweetie pie’ inspired voice which progresses into a deep southern American accent and then into a heavy drum and bass beat which echoes the RnB vibe throughout the album.

Arguably the key track is the show stopping 7 minutes of ‘Iron Sky’ . Beginning with a ringing guitar and heavy bass which pave the way for Paolo’s vocals to explode, The gutsy attitude of the track give a real authentication that Nutini is comfortable in is own skin. Trumpets and a sample from Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 movie ‘The Great Dictator’ add the flying flag to the evolution of Paolo’s music style.

The previously thought unlikely collaboration of Janelle Monáe and Paolo Nutini, now feels like a natural pairing given the RnB style of ‘Fashion’, Monáe busts a rap which takes the track to a new level of swagger. Soulful tracks like ‘Better man’ remind us of how we first fell in love with Paolo, the comfortable intimacy of the track is both thought provoking and harks back to previous tracks from his debut “These Streets”

Just when you think the album is winding down, another key track ‘Cherry Blossom’ knocks you off your block. The subtlety of the beginning leaves the listener in the dark about the depth of the track to follow. As The track kicks into its commanding and edgy rhythm, Nutini roars the chorus. You realise that Paolo has left the relative safety of his previous albums and is reborn as a songwriter who is newly energised and ready to push boundaries and take risks.

At 27 years old Paolo has carved himself a new style and produced a brilliantly authentic coming-of-age record. Do yourself a favour and plug yourself into Caustic Love.

Key tracks to look out for “Iron Sky”, “Cherry Blossom”, “Fashion” and “Better man”.


Watch ‘Iron Sky’,

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