Album Review: Panic! at the Disco’s “Vices & Virtues”

Panic! at the Disco is back on the block with a new album rekindling the flames of their first chart-topping debut “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out” (2006).

After going through some band member changes and some parting of ways, original members Brendon Urie and Spencer Smith are back at it and making music that you should hear across those FM sound-waves in your area soon enough.

The first single, “The Ballad of Mona Lisa,” has the same bass and drum driven back line that gets you bobbing your head in the opening bars as we have come to expect of the dynamic group. They have brought back some of the eccentricities that made “A Fever…” such a hit with little keys additions here and there and some great crooning chorus parts complete with Urie over-dubbing himself for elevated effect.

Though this is the single released off the album, I am going to differ in my thoughts on what should have been the first single release. I have become quite fond of the track “Ready to go (Get me out of my mind).” This track has the characteristic indie high-hat attack by Spencer on the drums with such fantastic strings section staccato pluckings throughout the verses. The song even has a break mid-song that is reminiscent of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” introduction that is broken by some chimes and a dissonant merging of strings. The song has enough electronic additions, vocal refrains, and a driving beat to be successful on the radio and in the clubs. Remix anyone?

While we are on the subject, I must say that my friend has attached to the track “Memories.” This track is similar to “Ready to go,” but has a little more homage to the group’s debut album. I find the track’s strength in it galloping drum-line. Although, as is characteristic of the entire album, electronic flavorings that are so common in all bands of late are in great supply, “Memories” contains a little more guitar driven bottom line than the other track. “Memories” is a song that only reveals more of itself the more you listen with its obvious high production value, one is bound to catch a new bell accent or soft vocal sections every time you re-listen to it.

All in all, the album has some great tracks that demonstrate the group’s maturing as musicians. Tracks like “Sarah Smile” and its italian cafe stylings are evident of this. But, as usual, the Panic men are pushing their limits while testing the waters of genre dabbling. It always works out well for them and this album is no different. With the perfect combination pop/indie and ballad-esque tracks, the album has something for everyone.

It is good to have you back Panic! at the Disco. Keep up the good work gentlemen.

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