Paolo Nutini is in an unenviable position as he gears up for the release of his new album Caustic Love. The set will be his third album and he’s certainly got a lot to live up to. Debut album These Streets sold over 1.5 million copies in the UK alone and follow-up Sunny Side Up bettered that with more than 1.8 million copies. Now nearly 5 years on since his last album release, Paolo is back with third studio album Caustic Love.
Caustic Love is produced by Paolo along with Dani Castelar and features 13 new tracks. The album’s lead single Scream (Funk My Life Up) showed that Paolo is not afraid to change things up once again moving away from the more laidback sound of Sunny Side Up. With every album he’s reinvented himself and for Caustic Love he’s embracing a bluesier, fuller sound that incorporates elements of rock, funk, soul, folk and even a little bit of pop.
Scream (Funk My Life Up) captures your attention in large part due to Paolo’s incredible vocal which shows him at his raspy best whilst harnessing the power that has made him a stand-out star in the music industry. The track is a good indicator of the direction of Caustic Love and is one of its many highlights. The moody buzz track Iron Sky sounds fantastic still, especially once you hear it in context of the full album. The vocal is unflinchingly raw and honest and dare we say one of his best.
Across the album Paolo tries on a variety of sounds including laidback blues on Let Me Down Easy, good old-fashioned soul on standout Better Man, and folk on the catchy Numpty. Label-mate and R&B star Janelle Monae collaborates with Paolo on the electric-guitar tinged mid-tempo number Fashion and he explores his remarkable falsetto on the highlight Diana which is atmospheric and emotive.
The only thing that lets the album down for us is the two interludes which feel a little pointless. We’ve never been a fan of these throwaway tracks and they are usually found on R&B albums. We’re sure there’s some good reason why Paolo has included them but we could easily have cut them from the tracklisting.
Caustic Love is an album that is destined to sell just as well as its predecessors. There is no other male vocalist or artist in the UK like Paolo Nutini and he brings something distinctly unique to the music industry. Caustic Love is as much an exploration of Paolo’s vocal ability as it is a cohesive body of emotive and soul-bearing songs.