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Ron Sexsmith, Forever Endeavour (Cooking Vinyl)

His last album Long Player, Late Bloomer did not make Ron Sexsmith the pop star its comparative fluffiness might have suggested was the aim, so Canada's boyish songsmith has returned to the more mournful cadences of his earlier work.

Such flippancy is inappropriate and inaccurate. Sexsmith had a serious health scare on the road between the two discs and if there is a morbidity to some of the lyrics, the prospect of throat cancer might be the obvious explanation. Nor is the set relentlessly downbeat. Snake Road, concerning "those dog days" when he "Couldn't keep my thoughts straight/ Couldn't keep my trousers on" has a spring in its step, and Sneak Out the Back Door and Me Myself and Wine both revel in the more decadent side of existence.

A fine set of songs then, and given superb production by the excellent Mitchell Froom, who oversaw some of Sexsmith's earlier work.

With Pete Thomas on drums and Davey Faragher sharing the bass duties – names well known to Elvis Costello fans – Froom has arranged everything meticulously, adding string quartet, French horn and oboe apparent to the more familiar sonic palette.

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