- 01 Jul 22
Paolo Nutini appeared to have it all. First off, look at him, the ridiculously handsome bastard, and, if that wasn't enough - and I'd certainly have been happy with it had I been equally blessed - he was also gifted with both an equally gorgeous voice and the talent to go with it. Signed by Atlantic off his first demo tape at 19, his second album, 2009’s Sunny Side Up, debuted at number one as did its follow-up, Caustic Love, which drew comparisons with Rod Stewart and Joe Cocker, back when they made good records.
What could go wrong? Nothing, apparently. He just moved back home to Paisley and took it easy, restricting performances to karaoke bars and stag dos. Then, after eight years, he released two songs in May, ‘Through The Echoes’ and ‘Lose It’. The former is a lovely, gentle thing that could have slotted on earlier records, with Nutini’s rough as a badger’s arse yet smooth as silk voice centre stage. At some point in the future, many people, stood in festival fields, will weep into plastic beakers as Nutini throws that chorus at them. The latter rides on a motorik beat with our man talking it out before the song is lifted by inspired backing vocals. All this boded well.
Last Night takes a bit of listening, but it’s worth the effort. If you were told ‘Petrified In Love’ was a lost Nick Lowe Stiff single, you’d believe it, and the voice on the soulful chug of future hit ‘Radio’ - you can indeed "put your faith in something beautiful" - couldn’t be more Scottish if it were wearing a Jimmy Hat. That isn’t too say his pipes aren’t wondrous because the epic pleading on ‘Everywhere’ and the sweet lilt of ‘Abagail’ will have listeners leaving their partners, 'Acid Eyes' also has 'hit' written through it like a stick of seaside rock candy, and Mel Gibson could have played ‘Shine A Light’ to gee up the lads before the big scrap in Braveheart.
Nutini isn’t afraid to go off-piste either, dipping a toe in several pools - he opens by sampling dialogue from True Romance on 'Afterneath', where he sounds like a penitent man making a last call from a phone box, then he constructs a wall of noise in the middle of 'Heart Filled Up', before closing a record that people will cherish - some seventy minutes later - with just guitar and that voice on ‘Writer’. He’s a rare talent, and it’s good to see him back. He's got it all. Bastard.