Smashing records with his debut single 'That's My Goal', and keeping the momentum up by topping the UK album charts with this debut album, Shayne Ward appears to be incapable of doing wrong at the moment, or so say the public (albeit those aged eight to 16).

This eponymous offering is pretty much your typical pop record. It's polished, filled with soft, gushy ballads and is therefore very easy to listen to - think Backstreet Boys-meets-Westlife.

Rather than rushing to get the album onto the shelves before any of his fellow 'X Factor' finalists could cash in, Ward seems to have adopted a more relaxed approach in putting this together, presumably comfortable in the knowledge that whatever he produced was going to sell by the bucketload across Ireland and the UK.

Vocally powerful, playing to his strengths, digging out an array of forgotten pop tunes (even if some are seriously bordering on the whiney love songs side) and including his take on some very recent chart hits like 'What About Me?', Ward seems to be well within his comfort zone for the most part here.

He has a great recording voice and when given the right songs really proves it, effortlessly tackling this slightly cheesy selection of popular hits.

Where he struggles a bit is probably through no fault of his own and most likely has much more to do with song choice than ability. 'Next to Me' sees the Manchester man a little out of his depth, his voice seemingly struggling to fit in with the string accompaniment and electro-style beats, making for a sound that is not altogether pleasant on the ears.

Highlights include his two chat-topping singles to date, 'That's My Goal' and 'No Promises', but there are also impressive versions of 'All My Life' and 'You're Not Alone'. 

All in all, this isn't half bad for a debut. Sure to get its target market excited, it just doesn't have enough universal appeal to drag in anyone over the age of 16 who's not obsessed with reality television, except perhaps for 'Wizard of Oz' fans keen to hear his take on 'Over the Rainbow', recorded live during the 'X Factor'.

Sure, there's not a lot of Shayne Ward on display here in the midst of all the cover versions, but will his audience mind? Most likely not.

Linda McGee