Paolo Nutini crafts a classic soulful rock sound on ‘Last Night In The Bittersweet’. The 16 track album is an incredibly cohesive work. Where others have opted for too much over too little, nothing on Nutini’s fourth album feels like excess. Covering deep love, the turmoils of the mind and a writer’s struggles, a beat isn’t missed on this significant and timeless record.
Nutini’s track record serves him well. Two number one albums as well as the beloved sophomore ‘Sunny Side Up’ still grace the walls of vinyl stores. His five year break away from album-producing sees ‘Last Night In The Bittersweet’ go as deep as it is long, both sonically and lyrically. Exploding with a cry, opener ‘Afterneath’ is a chaotic melange of rock and spoken word. ‘Acid Eyes’ possesses a tension in the instrumentals. Dark trumpets colliding with passionate guitar reflects the loss of the one that got away. The brass is such a welcome addition. Used to add another layer of texture, tracks like ‘Radio’ feel more poignant and grand.
His Paisley accent seeps through the album but is especially heard on ‘Stranded Words’. This interlude with haunting drawn out guitar notes and harmonies feels like a poem being freely recited. Every lyric feels thoughtful without excitement or fervor clouding his sonic vision. The storytelling aspect of the album adds another dimension to be appreciated. ‘Children Of The Stars’ has a Beatles-esque melody and tells the tale of a woman of wonder and her struggles. Lullaby love songs like ‘Abigail’ and ‘Julianne’ call back to his wonderfully beautiful ‘Candy’. Painfully romantic, Nutini embraces the bitter days alongside the sweet. Hopelessly looking back, his nostalgia is dreamy as well as realistic.
‘Last Night In The Bittersweet’ reminds us of how much of an influence Paolo Nutini has been on music particularly in the UK whilst also highlighting how much he’s been missed. His unique approach to music enables him to inject a powerful soul sound into the most rock-driven tracks. A Kasabian riff on ‘Lose It’ paired with a inherent coolness breaks through with a sharp edge; there is a rock pop tinge found on ‘Shine A light’ and ‘Dimension’ which add energy once you’re in the depth of the album.
Hitting every single note with devotion to his craft, ‘Last Night In The Bittersweet’ transports you from the hard-hitting indie rock chaos to gentle soul; his vocals being just as strong and as captivating as he moves from one end of the spectrum to another.
Words: Sophia McDonald