XL Records’ Jack Penate can definitely churn out a great tune, channeling the Smiths and their upbeat guitar jangle just as much as he does Motown. That is, of course, when he isn’t sounding like the UK’s answer to John Mayer. Take for example the soulful ‘Learning Lines’, with its almost-funk backbeat and guitar over a simple-but-catchy vocal hook versus ‘My Favorite’, which is too cheesy for its own good. The former feels like a sincere tribute to soul music, while the latter just feels like background music at the shopping mall. Sure, most of the tracks on here are catchy and some even memorable, but they lack depth, in spite of Penate’s posturing on the unfortunate state of the world or personal relationships. In the end, all of these songs are probably better live and only about half of them are worth keeping on your iPod. But a release that’s half bad is still half good, and, as such, there’s enough potential that we ought to expect a pretty good record out of him next time around.