It’s our misfortune to happen upon Feargal Sharkey in the least interesting bit of his three-stage career. We knew him once as a leader of post-punk’s emotional shock troops, putting that quaverous Derry voice into the service of everyday lust and laughter. We know him now as an industry spokesman, a general in a long, attritional fight to shore up recorded music as something people want to – or at least have to – pay for.

In between, this. You can see it as the worst of both worlds, if you like: the teenage tremble that animated The Undertones gone to seed and turned to schtick, with a backing that suggests the music industry at its most unimaginative and businesslike. “A Good Heart” can’t decide what it’s for – is it a torch song, a chugalong bit of pop-funk, or as that wretched guitar break suggests a rocker? So no wonder Sharkey sounds so lost and drab in it. Oh, it’s catchy enough: underneath the arrangement Maria McKee’s song could be a sweet bit of teenpop, or a girl-group throwback. But – like most of Sharkey’s solo career – all it leaves me with is the sense of people marking time, putting out material because they’ve got little better to do.

Score: 3

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