Album: Paolo Nutini, Sunny Side Up (Atlantic)

When Paolo Nutini's debut These Streets appeared in 2006, the teenage Scot was critically mauled as just another blue-eyed, slightly-soulful singer-songwriter, in the mum-pleasing manner of James Blunt and James Morrison.

But although the criticisms were partly justified by the immature nature of some of the material and insipid arrangements, the album nonetheless secureda slow-burning success that sold a couple of million.

Happily, any worries that Nutini might slide deeper into MOR territory prove ill-founded: the aptly-titled Sunny Side Up sees the singer making giant strides in several directions, starting with the infectious ska-pop of the opening "10/10". With James Poyser and ?uestlove lending a Soulqarian touch to the piano and drums, and Rico adding an authentic Jamaican flavour to the horns, it's a joyous, engaging track which finds young Paolo eager to please his lover, to be "a model pupil tonight, babe" worthy of top score. Vocally it's a revelation, with the rapidly maturing, confident singer now evoking the genial bonhomie of Louis Prima, the originator of Italian-American R&B – and, one suspects, a largely unsung influence on Van Morrison, whose Caledonian Soul style offers the most obvious touchstone for Nutini's approach.

That becomes more apparent in the ensuing "Coming Up Easy", a brooding soul number with Memphis-flavoured horns, on which the singer's testifying repetition of the final line "It was in love I was created, and in love is how I hope I'll die" prompts comparisons with the more impassioned of Van's finales. Here and in tracks such as the slow blues "No Other Way" and the lovely, rolling "Candy", Nutini confronts the turbulence of romantic expectation with warmth and maturity.

Elsewhere, he stretches himself musically in unexpected directions, but without sacrificing the essential unity of mood: ukelele and tin whistle lend Paolo's concerns about "too much mind corruption" in "High Hopes" a light, Caribbean/South African flavour, and accordion, celeste and mandolin adding extra texture to the folksy throb of "Growing Up Beside You", while "Pencil Full Of Lead" goes the whole Dixieland hog, with energetic jazz horns and R&B vocal group underlining the cheerful frugality of his contentment: "I got a nice guitar, and tyres on my car... food in my belly, and a licence for my telly", etc. As he implies here and in songs like "Keep Rolling" and "Simple Things", Paolo Nutini is essentially a simple soul with a warm, generous spirit, qualities which chime with a vast audience: don't be surprised if, come December, this is one of the year's biggest-selling albums.

Download this: '10/10', 'Candy', 'Coming Up Easy', 'High Hopes', 'Growing Up Beside You'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

    Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

    In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
    Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

    How has your club fared in summer sales?

    Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
    Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

    'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

    Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
    The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

    The best swim shorts for men

    Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
    Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

    Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

    Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup