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Paolo Nutini - Sunny Side Up

2009-07-03 11:22
Sunny Side Up

Paulo Nutini, who is probably more blue-eyed boy than Soulja Boy, does little to dispel this myth with Sunny Side Up's opening track "10/10" – a plodding, old school reggae shuffle with a touch of honky tonk that’s part Madness, part superfluous. Let’s hope he doesn’t spark some new Mr. Bojangles reggae craze. The fact that Nutini has been blessed with a well-worn, nicotine-and-whiskey ravaged voice results in a downright galling imitation of Bob Marley's iconic tones. Er, who exactly does this kid think he is?

And he really is a kid. At 22, the Scottish Nutini sounds way way way more matured and assured than any musician has a right to be at that age. And this isn’t even his first album. Some may remember "Jenny Don't be Hasty" being a bit of a radio staple a couple of years ago, and his previous singles have been a regular fixture on popular TV shows such as Scrubs, , Grey's Anatomy and CSI over the years.

His style, evocative of 70s folk troubadours like Cat Stevens and Otis Redding soul soothers, is wholly at odds with what young, (very) good-looking pop stars are making in the 21st century. When he's not harking back to 20s Prohibition-era jazz ("Pencil Full of Lead") or Motown ("No Other Way"), he can't be faulted for finding a way into your space with his unequivocally heartfelt, I'm-tearing-up-inside-here intensity. "Candy" and "Coming Up Easy" are lovely little pieces of low-GI pop nuggets that showcase his prodigiously infectious talent.

He might not be fitting into the current 'scene', but at least he's destined to stick around a lot longer than his supposed contemporaries.

There's this well-worn joke about how all reggae music is indistinguishable because each song is based on the same, endlessly repeated beat.

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