Picks and Pans Review: Paolo Nutini

updated 06/08/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/08/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

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While the U.K.'s retro-soul movement has made stateside successes out of the ladies—from Amy Winehouse and Duffy to Adele and Estelle—Paolo Nutini's 2007 debut, These Streets, was sorely underappreciated on these shores. This follow-up doesn't match the pop hooks of its predecessor, which simply had better songs, but it finds the sandpapery-voiced Scot stretching out stylistically, showing that, at 22, he's still growing as an artist. Whether it's Dixieland ("10/10"), ragtime ("Pencil Full of Lead"), Stax soul ("Coming Up Easy) or traditional Celtic sounds ("Chamber Music"), he continues to show a flair for music from way before his time.

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