(This article is taken from the old Eagle’s Nest site, originally published on the 29th of March 2011 as part of a short review segment. As the site was a part-time blog back then, this article was not necessarily written for professional purposes)

 

Panic! At The Disco – Vices And Virtues

 

Take what happened to Oasis (albeit with considerably less physical brawling), subtract another band member from that equation, and place said equation right after the band’s second album, which was drastically different in tone in style to its first. Most bands in that situation, even after the sudden success that Panic! At The Disco (now with exclamation point back in its rightful place) achieved, would either add new members or disband completely. P!ATD chose neither, and now drummer Spencer Smith and singer (as well as newly-multi-instrumentalist) Brendon Urie form a duo that boldly carries on the band’s confused and fragile legacy in the face of adversity. What that legacy is is difficult to put your finger on. Their debut A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out was a double-platinum slice of alternative-pop-rock awesomeness with an obscure, dark Vaudevillian twist. Then Pretty. Odd. came around, morphing their sound into something light-hearted, musically-complex and interesting, drawing inspiration from the baroque pop of The Beatles and The Beach Boys. Many of their earlier fans left in droves, appalled at the fact that a band could mature so drastically. But for all the maturity gained from their misunderstood second album, it didn’t help establish a sure identity.

 

 

P!ATD emerge as a duo on their third album

P!ATD emerge as a duo on their third album

 

My hopes were not too high for Vices And Virtues, especially after I heard that the band became a duo. But they do not disappoint, and succeed in what they set out to achieve: to take the angst and mainstream production of their debut and meld it with the ambition, whimsy and experimentation of their sophomore record. The formula works really well, especially when you hear how damn catchy some of these tracks are. It really helps that lead singer Brendon has a captivating voice, that at first was derided for its supposed similarities to Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump’s. Many of the songs are carried by his croon, and no more so than on ‘Always’, an acoustic ballad that provides a brief respite from the high-spirited energy of first single ‘The Ballad Of Mona Lisa’ or ‘Memories’. There’s an undeniable sweetness in the sound of his voice juxtaposed with the forlorn attitude of the lyrics in ‘Sarah Smiles’: another pop delight. Pianos twinkle, strings & synths rise and fall dramatically, and marimbas, xylophones, accordion and even a children’s choir all add to the swing of the show. These arrangements make the ‘pop’ in ‘pop-rock’ cool again, and Vices & Virtues your latest guilty pleasure. Enjoy in many servings.

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