Album number three for the Las Vegas boys has seen the band finally settle into their own skin and into their own sound. Their brilliant debut record combine cabaret with emo punk stylings to create another new sub genre of the bloated punk scene. Then their sophomore record saw the band turn down the Beatlesque path with mixed results commercially. Internally, the band imploded with half the group leaving citing creative differences and the remaining two, Brendan and Ryan left to pick up the pieces and reclaim the famed ! in the name.
From the first track and lead single The Ballad Of Mona Lisa you get the impression the duo went back to the beginning. The song has that feel from the first record A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out with its leanings toward cabaret and a great pop hook in the chorus. As does Hurricane and Nearly Witches (Ever Since We Met…)with its theatrical style lyrics. Always could easily be a b-side from the Pretty.Odd sessions. A sugary sweet, fairytale pop ballad.
The band have also expanded their influences to come through on this record allowing for more diversity in sounds. Let’s Kill Tonight has an 80s nu-wave/electronica feel to it that makes me think modern day AFI in parts before its orchestral ending. Memories and Ready To Go (Get Me Out Of My Mind) has a stadium rock feel with nod towards Muse in parts.
The one thing about Panic! At The Disco that hasn’t changed over the last five years is Brendon Urie’s voice. Probably underrated as a vocalist, on this album he has stepped up writing lyrics that better suit his style of drawing out the words melodically and adding extra dynamics to really stand out. This album is better than what I thought it would be. As a fan of Fever.., I was disappointed in Pretty.Odd and when half the band left I was sure that the group would fall into mediocrity. I’m pleased to say they haven’t and without saying this is a return to form, it is a step in the right direction.