Panic! At The Disco

Vices & Virtues

Written by: TL on 26/03/2011 17:16:54

Can you believe it's been six years since Panic! At The Disco took the world by storm with their debut LP "A Fever You Can't Sweat Out"? Many of you haven't given them any thought for a while I'm sure, considering how most fans utterly failed to grasp the brilliance of the sophomore "Pretty. Odd", which saw the band drop their exclamation mark and head for a more retro-influenced sound. Most of you can rejoice however, because since then, the proponents of the retro sound, guitarist Ryan Ross and bassist Jon Walker, have split the band to form The Young Veins instead, while leaving singer/pianist Brendon Urie and drummer Spencer Smith to bring back both the modern pop sounds, and the trusty "!".

That at least is how "Vices & Virtues" is being spoken of - as a comeback by a band that had both erred on their sophomore and faced line-up changes. In reality, the new album not only has loads to offer for those who have missed the cheeky electronics of the band's debut, but also for those who enjoyed the naive enthusiasm of "Pretty. Odd". The sound is predominantly polished and theatrical, with the various chimes, bells and whistles complimenting the regular rock instruments better than pretty much any other band has managed to make them do since the first P!ATD record.

More so than earlier, Panic! now rely on the strength of their choruses rather than mega-long song-titles and tongue-twisting lyricism to charm their listeners, and while openers "The Ballad Of Mona Lisa" and "Let's Kill Tonight" initially seem a little too straightforward for it, they'll soon overwhelm the listener through sheer infectiousness. That can be said for pretty much the entire album however, as it soon proves to be memorable from cover to cover, with each catchy turn of phrase and/or cheeky instrumental flourish stumbling to chase the former through your speakers and into your consciousness.

Given the consistency, it's almost redundant to start mentioning highlights, but still, apart from the obvious choruses of songs like "The Ballad Of Mona Lisa" and "The Calendar", please do also make note of the tasteful violins in "Let's Kill Tonight", the excellent verse melody in "Memories" and the anthemic refrain of closer "Nearly Witches (Ever Since We Met)". And then there are the longing choruses of "Trade Mistakes" and "Sarah Smiles" aaaand... now I'm doing that thing where I end up mentioning all the songs again. Sorry about that.

The most overall of all impressions to take away from "Vices & Virtues" is that it pretty much nulls any doubts one might have had of the band's potential, both prior to and after the sundering of its line-up. From the sound of it, Smith and Urie have their visions and ambitions firmly in place, and worth noticing is also that the latter's vocal acrobatics should soon start to flip the old Patrick Stump comparisons in his direction. This record is charismatic, playful, engaging and almost instantly memorable, and I'll be quite surprised if we hear a better pop-rock record all year.

Download: The Calendar, The Ballad Of Mona Lisa, Nearly Witches (Ever Since We Met),
For The Fans Of: Fall Out Boy, Say Anything, Forgive Durden, Marianas Trench

Release Date 22.03.2011
Decaydance/Fueled By Ramen

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