It’s been five years since Paolo Nutini released an album, so you can imagine that fans had high hopes for Caustic Love; and I am sure they were not disappointed. The album was released on Sept. 16 and just celebrated its third week at #1 on the UK’s Official Album Charts.
Caustic Love is unique and almost nostalgic for 1950-60’s soul music. Paolo uses a unique distinguished range of powerful vocals, “funky beats,” and instruments such as horns and bass guitar to create a new groovy feel that slightly differs from the style of his previous albums.
While the overall vibe of the album is almost vintage funk, this album is versatile. For the most part, each song’s lyrical message is different, unlike Nutini’s past two albums which include mostly love songs. Some of the songs on the album have a hip-hop-like beat, while some songs have a tender feel.
Caustic Love opens with, “Scream (Funk My Life Up),” which incorporates loud horns and an upbeat rhythm that makes it hard for the listener not to move. At the same time, Nutinti uses these same jazz-like horns, accompanied by Paolo’s strong vocals, to enhance an almost bluesy feeling of passion that reaches the listener in a strong way in “One Day.”
Caustic Love also offers sentimental love songs like “Better Man” — that have a less funky beat, more of an acoustic feel, and heartfelt lyrics that resembles Nutini’s first hit “My Last Request” from 2006.
Paolo took a bold chance with this refreshing R&B sound that varies from his previous hit albums These Streets and Sunny Side Up, but he definitely pulls it off. With collaborations with R&B artist Janelle Monae on “Fashion,” to Nutini channeling his hidden “James Brown-like” style on “Iron Sky,” it sounds like the Scottish twenty-seven year old has found his inner soul.