Panic at the Disco is back after three years, one exclamation point and one scrapped record with their newest album Pretty. Odd. Fans have waited a long time but won't be disappointed with what the group now has to offer.
Frontman Brendon Urie opens Pretty. Odd. with the apologetic We're So Starving,"" in which he proclaims, ""Oh, how it's been so long / We're so sorry we've been gone / We were busy writing songs for you."" The new songs have lost the Vegas-influenced beats and themes, yet Urie promises, ""We're still the same band."" However, they have steered away from the emo anthems of 2005's A Fever You Can't Sweat Out and found a new, stripped-down sound.
""Nine In The Afternoon,"" the second track and current single, is an ironically lively song about the end of the world: ""Pickin' up things we shouldn't read / Looks like the end of history as we know / It's just the end of the world."" If the music alone doesn't show it, the music video gives a feeling of the Beatles and Beach Boys influences heard throughout the album.
The heavy synthesizer riffs and distortion featured on Fever have been replaced by horns and strings in beautiful orchestrations prominent on most of the songs. Pretty. Odd. continues with several upbeat and quirky songs before slowing it down for ""Northern Downpour."" An acoustic intro sets the feeling for a love song showcasing Urie's solid vocals and guitarist Ryan Ross's lyrics, and the harmonies and multi-track vocals are a welcome change from the talking and ""singing"" in their earlier work.
It's not a spotless album, and the country song ""Folkin' Around"" is definitely the prime example of imperfection. The country sound scars the whimsical pop songs that make up the album and really makes one wonder why it was even included at all. Luckily for the listener, it's one of the shortest tracks.
""Mad As Rabbits"" rounds out the album and leaves the listener with a catchy tune that sums up Panic's new style. Strong vocals and strange lyrics tell the story of a man who has nothing going in his favor and how ""we must reinvent love."" Although it may not be the strongest track, it is definitely a fun song that ends the album on a high note.
Panic at the Disco's redefined sound and style will certainly lead to a whole new fan base and perhaps lose some of the emo high school girls that made them so popular to begin with. Turning back the clock while writing this album shows the group's maturity and the respect they have for the pioneers of what we call rock 'n' roll. The bottom line is that Panic and the Disco have put out a great record that is definitely worth a listen.