When Paolo Nutini last released an album, the world was a slightly different place.
A lot can happen in five years, but not 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.”
He’s got a point, and despite most artists knowing the pitfalls of writing about their stardom, so many don’t heed the warnings and plough on regardless. Thankfully Nutini knew better.
He didn’t venture too far afield. He spent some time in the Caribbean, and Amsterdam, where a planned fortnight turned into a few months when his band joined him and work began on what would become the new album.
While on his extended holiday, there were always musical ideas floating around, a melody sung into an iPhone here, a chord progression there, and all of the travelling was done with a guitar on his back.
Nutini also fell in love with Munich and Berlin in Germany, and Barcelona and Valencia in Spain, places he’d been to but only fleetingly seen from his tour bus and always planned to revisit.
He didn’t make it to Iceland, Egypt and Morocco, which were also on his wish-list, but he’s already making plans to go.
He did, however, spend a long time in the Tuscan hills, which is where he spent every summer holiday growing up.
Caustic Love was recorded over a long period of time. “I wouldn’t have been able to do any of these things before.
“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.”