Paolo Nutini returns with a classic

Paolo Nutini backstage during the Teenage Cancer Trust series of charity gigs in London. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Photos
Paolo Nutini backstage during the Teenage Cancer Trust series of charity gigs in London. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Photos

When Paolo Nutini last released an album, the world was a slightly different place.

Barack Obama had just been sworn in as President of the United States, no one knew what an iPad was and the photo sharing website Instagram hadn’t been created.

A long time, then, but not long enough for people to forget about Nutini.

Right now, his new album Caustic Love is heading for the top of the charts, destined to perform equally as well as his first two, These Streets and Sunny Side Up.

And it deserves to. It’s a superior record, a dramatic improvement on his debut, which hindsight has rendered naive, and a considerable step up from the knockabout swing of Sunny Side Up, enjoyable as it was.

But why the five-year gap?

“I wanted to live a bit,” says the 27-year-old, stirring the ice in the cocktail that’s just arrived. (He likes Mai Tais at the moment, if you’re interested, as he finds other more boozy cocktails a bit “too manly – I like something more flowery”.)

“What was I going to write about?” he continues, retuning to the topic of his career break. “My first-world problems on the tour bus? ‘Oh I never had a bath robe in my 5-star hotel’, ‘My spa wasn’t included in my room rate’ or ‘My double espresso was cold when it arrived’? That’s an album I don’t want to hear.”

Thankfully Nutini knew better, and decided to travel to give himself something to write about.

“I hadn’t lived that much before my first album. I felt some growing pains that I wanted to figure out, so off I went.”

“I wouldn’t have been able to do any of these things before; writing these songs, or producing them. I didn’t think I could because there was a hole in me, It was nothing to do with success or money or anything, but within me. So I had to do something about that, and I did.”