Review: Caustic Love – A New Paolo?

Paolo Nutini is a Glaswegian, through and through. Not sure you could say that about his new, modern-soul inspired record though. ‘Caustic Love’ is a blistering 13 track (11 songs, 2 interludes) album which has surprised and delighted many, nabbing him the fastest selling album of 2014 with over 109,000 copies sold in the first week alone, gaining him the number 1 spot in the Official Charts, and earning him top reviews across the board.

paolo nutini picWith this the release of this third album, Paolo marks the end of a 5 year hiatus since his last record, ‘Sunny Side Up’. Caustic Love, however, is not only his return to music, but a very clear and deliberate steer towards more serious artistry. The mature record has elements of charm and light-heartedness, of newness and daring, but also of a depth that his previous albums lacked. Adele even tweeted that the live Abbey Road version of the record’s most impressive track, ‘Iron Sky’, was ‘one of the best things I’ve ever seen in my life hands down’. If you can trust anyone, it’s Adele.

The only thing that hinders this album’s credibility as one of the best this year, and perhaps this decade so far, is the fact it seems slightly at odds with itself. While yes, on the most part each track is very good individually, it took me more than a few listens to get my head around the album. His mixture of styles and genres from song to song creates more than a few bumps its groove; plenty of great tracks yes, but as a whole?… It’s almost as if he still hasn’t made up his mind as to what kind of songwriter he wants to be.

However you could definitely pass that off as my preference for music that flows easily from one song to the next – what I think is slightly negative could be an overwhelming plus for another. Maybe I’m being picky because Paolo Nutini is just so so close to perfection. Speaking of perfection, my favourite track of the album is the acoustic-style ‘Better Man’ in which he croons to your, and my, and probably everyone’s, hearts content. It’s also true that he’s more than easy on the eye, which doesn’t hurt either

With his set at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Glasgow Green at the end of May confirmed, it’s not too long until we can welcome the Paisley boy back to his home city. Time to start fighting your flatmate for that extra ticket I think.

Lucy Keown

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