Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Paolo Nutini pulls it* out of the bag

* a new song

Paolo Nutini. Remember him? Floppy fringe, impenetrable Scottish accent, sings like he's swallowed a cup of razor blades.

His first two albums each sold more than a million copies in the UK, much to the surprise of his record label, who signed him as a sort of Jack Johnson / James Morrison hybrid, then dropped their jaws, aghast, when his second record turned out to be a hybrid of old-time reggae, folk and ragtime, all delivered in a faux-Jamaican accent.

He's been away for a couple of years, missing several deadlines for his third album, but last night he popped up in Camden to preview a bunch of new material, including a song about his mum and another one called Fashion, performed as a duet with Angel Haze.

The new album is called Caustic Love - he wisely ditched the original title, Numpty - and it's served with generous lashings of Hot Buttered Soul. Inspired by the trunk-funkin' R&B of Atlantic Stax, it's packed with cast-iron grooves and at least three bona fide radio hits. Better still, on the recorded version of Fashion, Angel Haze is replaced by Janelle MonaƩ (no disrespect to Angel but, come on, it's Janelle bloody MonaƩ).

The first single is a big old gospel stomper called Scream (Funk My Life Up), and it popped onto YouTube last night to coincide with Paolo's comeback gig. Amusingly, when I first heard it, the song's subtitle was "Don't Fuck Me Up", but that's not going to get you on Ken Bruce's show, is it?

Paolo Nutini - Scream (Funk My Life Up)

PS: Five years ago, Paolo Nutini gave me a memorable interview in which we discussed President Obama's bowling alley and deep frying Maltesers. It's worth a read if you have two minutes to spare.

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