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Paolo Nutini - Last Night In The Bittersweet (Album Review)

Tuesday, 05 July 2022 Written by Rebecca Llewellyn

Paolo Nutini has always had an undeniable charm. A romantic soul with frayed edges, the Scottish musician captivated a mainstream audience with his rasping vocals on two albums that combined pop, soul, indie and folk before getting a tad more experimental on 2014’s ‘Caustic Love’.

It has been a long wait for the next chapter. Despite his success, Nutini decided not to reappear for an encore and entered a hiatus that seemed almost indefinite. It was to both surprise and delight, then, that he announced his return earlier this year, in the form of ‘Last Night In The Bittersweet’. 

Comprising tender tracks that yearn for a slow dance and rousing numbers that showcase Nutini’s impressive range, the musician has stripped away any pop elements that remained on its predecessor, which even back then felt ever so slightly ill-fitting against his scratched-up vocals. 

‘Last Night In The Bittersweet’ boasts a mature sound, with Nutini clearly being at home in both himself and the music he creates. Laden with bold acoustics and a dose of old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll, this latest take is both renewed and sentimental, with a subtle resemblance to the gorgeous emotion contained in his debut album ‘These Streets’. 

The LP, which is a weighty 16 tracks long, has been beautifully formatted to flow effortlessly, providing smooth listening that both quietens and quickens the senses in equal parts. You only need to hear the lead single, the enigmatic Through The Echoes, to get a sense of that. Heartfelt and soulful but not at all clichéd, Nutini combines subtle percussion with purred vocals to deliver a moment that is achingly romantic, with Everywhere and Abigail falling in harmonised succession. 

The tempo increases on Shine A Light, Petrified In Love and Acid Eyes, all standing forward as promising crowd pleasers, but the gamechanging Lose It provides a sucker-punch to any lingering sweetness. “I could not seem to find a way out of my worried mind,” Nutini sings. “Feeling I'd been left behind, was bringing me down, down.” 

Preceded by the album's interlude, on which we hear melting spoken word in a rich Scottish accent, the clash with these distinctly dialled up vocals is a memorable switch, and Nutini has clearly enjoyed including these surprise elements. His brush with poetry is then further emphasised at the close in the form of the emotive The Writer. 

‘Last Night In The Bittersweet’ exudes romance, but is not tender enough to be depended on as a declaration of love. Nutini has given just enough abrasiveness, reckless impulsivity, and jolts of the unexpected, to keep us infatuated. 

Paolo Nutini Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri July 08 2022 - GLASGOW Green
Sun August 21 2022 - LIMERICK Milk Market
Mon August 22 2022 - LIMERICK Milk Market
Wed August 24 2022 - DUBLIN 3Olympia Theatre
Thu August 25 2022 - BELFAST Custom House Square
Sat October 22 2022 - MANCHESTER O2 Victoria Warehouse
Sun October 23 2022 - MANCHESTER O2 Victoria Warehouse
Tue October 25 2022 - LONDON Alexandra Palace
Wed October 26 2022 - LONDON Alexandra Palace
Fri October 28 2022 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy Birmingham
Sat October 29 2022 - HULL Bonus Arena
Mon October 31 2022 - EDINBURGH O2 Academy Edinburgh
Tue November 01 2022 - ABERDEEN Music Hall
Fri November 04 2022 - CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena

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