How to Swim - Retina (or More Fun Than a Vat of Love) (3 stars)

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How to Swim - Retina (or More Fun Than a Vat of Love)

(Personal Hygiene)

This full-length debut has been a long time coming, but Glasgow’s How to Swim have taken their time to serve up a rich tapestry of witty orchestral rock. With a vocal delivery somewhere between Neil Hannon and Jonathan Richman, lyrically Retina prefers wit to emotional insight, creating a certain distance that makes it difficult to relate to some of the more overtly emotional songs. But with tales of sword-swallowers possessed of ‘exceptional’ gullets placed alongside jaunty paeans to Genesis P Orridge, perhaps that’s beside the point. Smart arrangement and some lovely touches in the production (the vocals on ‘Ghastly Ones’ particularly) leave Retina feeling like a dazzling display of talent, if perhaps not innovation.

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