Paisley’s Finest Is Back With His Best Yet And Is Ready To Funk Our Lives Up
After a near five year hiatus Paolo Nutini has returned with the sophisticated soulful groove of ‘Caustic Love’. The pressures of fame and success felt after the Scot’s 2009 No.1 album ‘Sunny Side Up’ have been lifted and Nutini is now expressing his deep lying love affair with ’60s and ’70s black music.
When Nutini first broke onto the scene as a fresh faced 19 year old we heard stories of a boy brought up on his grandfather’s lap listening to all the soul greats. After the poppy boyhood innocence of ‘These Streets’ and the ska influenced hit ‘Sunny Side Up’ we are finally hearing the music Paolo was born to play. A more mature sound has came to be as Nutini, now 27, serenades the listener lustfully about love and redemption and full of passion about his faith and politics.
‘Scream (Funk My Life Up)’ is the opening statement of this comeback album as Nutini invites us to join him on his journey to redemption. Wails of joy and yearning ring out as we are urged to ‘scream hallelujah’ and dance to the electronic riffs and driving bass. He continues to express the massive progression of his sound with the sampling used in the majestically groovy ‘Let Me Down Easy’. The stripped back simplicity of ‘Better Man’ allows Nutini to pour out all his emotion with a smoky growl about wanting to be a better man for the girl he loves. The elongated twangs of guitar and bass add to the emotion felt in Nutini’s voice to make it one of the most beautiful songs on the album.
The crowning jewel of the album – ‘Iron Sky’ – has the feel of an instant classic. It is simply one of the best songs Nutini has ever written in which everything comes together in a beautiful six minutes of soulful, funky cathartic exclamation. Lead by reverberating guitar and deep bass, beautifully complimented with uplifting brass sequences, ‘Iron Sky’ gives Nutini the platform to let all his frustrations go and exclaim that he is here, and here to stay.
‘Diana’ wouldn’t sound out of place on a Frank Ocean setlist as Paolo explores his full vocal range reaching high to declare ‘Diana, she loves me, the only way she knows’. It still retains an element of ’70s jazz-funk harking back to Gil Scott-Heron with undertones of modern R’n’B. Teaming up with Janelle Monáe on ‘Fashion’ the R’n’B feel continues this time accompanied by bluesy bass and distorted guitar. Nutini croons ‘She’s in fashion, she’s chic: she’s a belle nouvelle on boogie street’ before Monáe comes in and frankly ruins the song with her rap which contributes little to what is otherwise a great track.
‘Caustic Love’ looks set to propel Paolo Nutini back to the super-stardom he experienced in 2009. This time though, five years older and wiser and equipped with a repertoire of majestic soul classics he has real direction and is ready to claim his rightful place as the new king of soul.
Here’s the incredible ‘Iron Sky’: