When you have a great singing voice, it doesn’t really matter what you sing about, and if you mix it with a thick accent, no-one will really care anyway – provided you bury it in some pleasant tunes.

Paolo Nutini seemed to have that down in his first two albums,These StreetsandSunny Side Up– filled with his rugged voice, his lovely accent, and a brand of pop so intensely charming that it could have won over your high school crush’s heart.

Now, trying to prove that he’s more musician than generic pop idol, Nutini presents Caustic Love, which sees him stepping away from the pop sounds in favour of funk and soul. The album’s opener ‘Scream (Funk My Life Up)’ isn’t the best start. Over-produced with no real groove, funk or soul at all, it seems more like a poor musician’s attempt at showing off talent that isn’t there. But don’t let this first impression get you down, because the rest of the album is a pleasant surprise. Restrained and focused, a clear and intoxicating groove comes through, and while it won’t blow you away, it does satisfy.

Despite a terrible opener and possessing one of the ugliest album covers of all time, Caustic Love is a surprisingly enjoyable listen.

3.5/5

Caustic Love is out now through Atlantic / Warner.

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