Paolo Nutini's second album, 2009's 'Sunny Side Up', saw the Scotsman top the charts with a record that would go on to be certified platinum five times. The follow up, 'Caustic Love', has already started in the same vein by hitting the number one spot, something that Nutini will build up when he begins his headline tour later in the month. A summer of festival appearances had also been announced, including a high profile slot on the Other Stage at Glastonbury.
When you title a track 'Scream (Funk My Life Up)', you need to deliver an audience-grabbing party number and, thankfully, this brass-laden opener is exactly that. Nutini quickly switches to a much more soulful atmosphere on 'Let Me Down Easy', but it is the aching 'One Day' on which he excels in this style. Tellingly more mature than on previous releases, 'Better Man' is a tender acoustic piece with an endearing charm. It gets followed by perhaps the grandest offering on the record, 'Iron Sky'; a soul-rock epic that shatters the serenity of its predecessor on the album by demanding your attention. Another switch of direction comes in the shape of the brooding 'Diana', but much like 'Looking For Something', it lacks the quality to keep you interested. Fortunately, he reproduces the funk and groove expected of him through 'Fashion' and 'Cherry Blossom', both of which raise the tail end of the record to a level worth hearing out. The desire to expand his sound is understandable of any artist looking to develop, but the results here are mixed and Nutini very much remains at his best when treading familiar ground in which he has proven class.