Friday, November 7, 2008

Panic at the Disco: Pretty Odd (CD Review)

From the get-go you know this is going to be a completely different album than their previous, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. That’s encouraging to me. I really enjoyed a few of the tracks off of Fever, but the record as a whole left me very cold. I thought it relied too much on electronics, and it felt like the group were trying to figure out who they were, and this, unfortunately, wasn’t it.

I think they’ve found it with Pretty Odd. Many things stand out that differentiate this album from the last. First, the electronic feel of the last album is totally gone as actual strings and horns have been incorporated into the music. I feel that these inclusions added to the direction that the music has gone fits lead singer Brendon Urie’s voice and singing style. Which brings me to difference #2: group founder and guitar and keyboard player Ryan Ross shares lead vocals with Urie on this album. His voice is noticeably different, but similar stylistically so that the album’s momentum isn’t interrupted.

This album also feels like it has some heart put into it. As mentioned, the previous CD felt cold and calculated, even the songs I liked. It was like the songs were written to be clever, or even manufactured rather than from an organic song-writing process. Pretty Odd sounds more comfortable, like this is what the band had meant to sound like all along.

One thing that struck me odd about the song She’s a Handsome Woman, Urie seems to be singing with a retainer in his mouth. A heavy lisp is very noticeable during the verses but mysteriously disappears during the chorus.

After this CD, I’m looking forward to future releases by PatD, providing they build on what they’ve got here. You’ve found your sound, guys, now run with it.

Listening to: Panic at the Disco - Mad as Rabbits
via FoxyTunes

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