Arts editor, Keith Bruce's verdict: five stars
Paisley's Paolo Nutini unveiled the collection of songs on his long awaited third album before an invited audience of fan club devotees and music industry guests in a North London dance hall above the Boston Arms pub on Tuesday night.
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Fronting a ten-piece band that augmented his regular musicians with a full brass section and backing singers, Nutini, 27, was making his first public appearance since a show in the cultural programme around the London Olympics in the summer of 2012.
The Caustic Love album will not be released until days after the soulful singer-songwriter plays a homecoming concert at Glasgow Barrowland on March 29, but its songs are certain to fill the airwaves for much of the rest of the year.
It has been five years since the release of his last disc, Sunny Side Up, whose varied content surprised critics, but which went on to outsell his debut, These Streets. The new album continues that development, with the dancefloor-aimed first single, Scream (Funk My Life Up), being just one facet of its styles.
Rapper Angel Haze joined the singer onstage for the newest track, Fashion, which consciously references the David Bowie song of the same name, while Cherry Blossom echoes the Seattle grunge sound of Nirvana, whose frontman Kurt Cobain died twenty years ago in April.
Another song, Looking for Something, was dedicated to Nutini's mother, who was in the audience, while the set also included radically reworked versions of older tunes like Pencil Full of Lead and Jenny Don't Be Hasty.
As well as playing guitar himself, Nutini added vocal samples from movies to the mix from a keyboard at his side, including an excerpt from a famous speech in Charlie Chaplin's 1940 classic The Great Dictator in the new song Iron Sky.