This is an archived post from Wishes on Eyelashes, a previous incarnation of this site.
It’s clear to see what the young McFly sprites have aimed at in their second album, and in places it works.
The success of ‘All About You’ (included here), in conjunction with its Comic Relief connections, opened Mcfly up to a much wider audience.
‘Wonderland’ attributes itself to this, obviously trying to replace the pre-teen cliqued pop of their debut with a more mature sound.
‘The Ballad Of Paul K’, about an aging alcoholic, isn’t something their former audience would’ve related to. But then McFly have realised that as they have grown up so has their audience. The once carefree teenage fans are now hitting young adulthood and Wonderland treats them with the deserved intellectual respect.
Such a change though doesn’t come without fault. While sounding like a menagerie of every 60’s band worked well on their debut, the blatant reproduction of other bands doesn’t hold water on this album. Try listening to ‘I Want To Hold You’ and not recalling The Beach Boys and then later, absurdly, Green Day. Similarly the music-by-numbers formula is once again used in ‘Ultraviolet’ and ‘Nothing’ to little effect.
These rare lapses aside, Wonderland is a great bridge between where Mcfly where and where they are headed. The inclusion of a two-part orchestral-led ballad (‘She Falls Asleep’) is a great gamble and pays off well. It would’ve been easy to make an identikit follow-up to their debut album, but the bravery of Wonderland and its variety has to be respected.
Although trying too hard to be mature, it’ll still leave you smiling, and that’s all you can really ask for. It’s more Cheshire Cat than the Queen of Hearts, but Wonderland is certainly a step in the right direction.