English boy group McFly deliver an album of fun, bouncy guitar pop that's something of an unabashed guilty pleasure.
Huge teen stars in the UK where they've enjoyed chart topping singles and albums and solved world poverty by playing at Live 8 and stuff, McFly remain virtually unknown in the US. Apparently they've just made an awful film called Just My Luck (I say it's awful, I haven't actually seen it, but hey...), where they play themselves alongside Lindsay Lohan, who the band's posh drummer managed to shag last year. This accompanying release is meant to be the band's break into the US market. So you never know, the lucky public in the US might be getting to know McFly very well sometime soon.
That probably amounts to a bit of a frivolous introduction, because the music really isn't that bad at all. As far as identikit, generic pop muck goes, McFly are absolutely miles in front of the usual guff, and if they ever manage to lose the faux American accents, they clearly have it in them to be one hell of a pop band.
Because a pop band is all McFly really are. Given the elitist, childish vitriol that comes from the NME-worshipping "serious" music fans, you'd think that being in a pop band was a crime on a par with genocide. It's bollocks, really, because when you think about it, there's not a lot that sets a perfectly good-looking, fresh-faced boy group like McFly apart from the clapping, jiving groups that graced the stage of the Ed Sullivan show in the '60s. And it's the sheer pop moments on Just My Luck that undoubtedly shine the brightest. Songs like "Obviously" and "All About You" are awash with swoonsome '60s harmonies and sweeping melodies, which might well be sweet enough to induce mass schoolgirl hysteria, but are still strangely fantastic. "That Girl" in particular is a song just crying out to be on the soundtrack of some American '60s B-movie, preferably playing during a scene featuring polka dot-wearing girls dancing on the roof of Cadillac's -- it's frankly that bloody brilliant!
As an album, Just My Luck seems to lump together all of McFly's biggest UK hits and highlights from their two prior albums, so the hit to dud ratio is pretty high. Still, it's not all good stuff, as the watered-down skater-punk-by-numbers "Memory Lane" ably demonstrates. Similarly, "Five Colours in Her Hair" probably aims for some ace cross between the Monkees and Blink 182, but instead ends up sounding more like a Busted out-take. But, sod it, nobody buys pop albums anyway. It's the singles that matter, and some of the three-minute school disco floor-fillers here are downright irresistible -- no matter how much you might want to hate them. Anyway, a couple of the boys in the band write most of the songs themselves, so that should mean it's maybe a tiny bit more OK to like McFly than the likes of, say, Kelly Clarkson, or, indeed, the satanic Lindsay Lohan.
Unless you're a 12-year-old girl in serious need of a crush, you probably don't need a McFly album, but that doesn't mean the music here can't raise a smile. It's big, dumb, throwaway pop music that's frequently pulled off with real style. For the most part, listening to Just My Luck is something of a guilty pleasure. OK, so it's not going to replace those Scott Walker or Nick Cave records on the shelf, but maybe we all sometimes simply need to hear four shaggable boys shaking their heads and cooing sweet nonsense into the air. And OK, maybe they’re not about to surprise us with a Revolver or a Rubber Soul like the Beatles did, but listening without prejudice to McFly can be a hell of a lot of fun -- even if dancing to it does make you feel a bit dirty afterwards...