But to keep the spark alive long enough for a change-of-genre second album (the Americana-infused ‘Sunny Side Up’) then a five-year hiatus, and now a well-crafted, weighty third record, is quite a feat. Nutini’s clearly got some substance to go with that ‘too folk for soap’ style.
Consistently funky and heaped with production tricks (the Bettye LaVette sample on ‘Let Me Down Easy’ is unexpected but inspired), ‘Caustic Love’ presents glimpses of a new Nutini sound. There are dark and blues-drenched ballads – ‘One Day’ and ‘Iron Sky’ – and classy, honky-tonky hiccups on ‘Numpty’. Lead single ‘Scream (Funk My Life Up)’ and ‘Fashion’ are both slick, funk-led head boppers and obvious Top Ten dwellers, with the latter featuring a rap interlude from US soulstress Janelle Monae (she and the gravelly-voiced strummer are top mates now, dontchaknow).
Although the filler tracks remain recognisably Paolo – they’re raspy, pop-rocky and oh-so radio-friendly – there’s a measurable amount of nouveau Nutini here to warrant re-categorising him in your iTunes library.
With nary a sway-inducing song about hand-holding or heavy petting in sight, the ‘Last Request’ days are long gone: this a more subtle but still swoon-worthy Paolo. The Scottish-Italian singer is still only 27, but he sounds (dare we say it) more mature and more accomplished. ‘Caustic Love’ may well recruit a new generation of Nutineers. What do you think of ‘Caustic Love’? Let us know in the comments box below or tweet us at @TimeOutMusic.
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In case you didn’t know, Scandinavia is cool right now. The food, the fashion, the facial hair – plus the Vikings have invaded the British Museum. All we need next is a healthy economy, a reliable public transport system and a sense of social justice, and London will be indistinguishable from Oslo. Meanwhile in Hackney, there’s yet another Northern European-inspired incursion. Or apparently so: the website claims this bar-restaurant-club draws on ‘a Nordic aesthetic’, although it’s not immediately obvious within. Oslo occupies the previously deserted old Hackney rail station and takes on a bit of a railway theme with its luggage-rack lighting, plus there are industrial stylings that give the whole place a Janet Jackson ‘Rhythm Nation’ video feel. The restaurant part is rather fancy, its food incorporating a few of the forages, pickles, jellies and marinations of New Nordic cooking. The kitchen is regularly given over to guest chefs, and you have to book – it’s always heaving. Eat in the bar and the food is more straightforward. Where once the standard snack in pubs was a toastie, sausage roll or pork pie, now it’s the slider or fried chicken. These are served alongside frankly obscene portions of chips, slathered with the likes of cured bacon fat and bacon salt, or braised oxtail, gravy and cheese. There’s a commendable range of craft beers from the vicinity, including a couple from Five Points Brewing just five minutes up the road at the Downs.Head upstairs and you’ll find a
Venue says: “Join us every Thursday night until late for Soul Soul Soul – a night of vinyl appreciation with DJs playing soul, funk, disco and more.”