On his seventh studio album, our man Ron finds a happy balance between the loopy electronics of 2002's Martin Terefe-produced Cobblestone Runway and the warmer, rootsy textures Steve Earle brought to Blue Boy. For Retriever, Sexsmith again teams up with Terefe to create a set of 60s-inspired soaring pop tunes, treading the turf made trendy of late by young'uns like the Thrills and Belle & Sebastian - kinda like Bacharach covering Other Songs. Against tastefully arranged strings and Bill Withers-worthy soul-lite bass lines, Sexsmith's trademark froggy croon sounds downright chipper. Ace Brit singer/songwriter Ed Harcourt adds to the retro aura with Fender Rhodes fills and airy harmonies. And while inviting members of wimpy Travis to beef up his band wasn't Sexsmith's most inspired idea, fans can rest assured that their insipid influence is totally imperceptible.