Woody Allen famously remarked that even when sex is bad, it's still pretty good. In the same way, even when Ron Sexsmith isn't quite firing on all cylinders, he's still better than almost any other singer-songwriter around. Retriever is certainly not the best album the mournful Canadian has ever made, which in practice means that it's only got about five or six instantly classic songs. As usual there are melodies that Paul McCartney would be proud of, mixed with acoustic folk strumming and quavering vocals that tug gently on the heartstrings. The only real problem this time is the lyrics - Sexsmith has apparently found a new partner after his recent divorce, and some of the love songs are disappointingly bland by his standards. Still, there's more than enough quality material here to confirm his status as the best cult artist in the world today - something, of course, that the Irish record-buying public know already. When will the rest of the world cotton on?