Just as anyone who was anyone a couple of years ago had a “The” in their band name, perhaps 2006 will be the year of the exclamation mark. ¡Forward Russia!, The Go! Team, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, and now Panic! At The Disco – it seems bizarre punctuation is going to be this year’s equivalent of the skinny-tie-and-Grandad’s-jacket trend. Not that it’s going to make much difference to P!ATD though. Growing up in Las Vegas, they probably missed all the garage rock furore of 2002. Good thing too, as it’s left them with an eclectic range of influences that put the British crop of post-Strokes wannabes to shame. Admittedly they’ve got some none-more-American twinges of emo, but who else can claim Fleetwood Mac and Counting Crows as their favourite bands with no trace of irony?
Friends since school, the four piece have used such influences to come up with a debut that sounds like an entire branch of HMV on one disc. Cramming 19th century accordion next to bang-up-to-date synth zaps, they’ve divided the album into two halves: the first futuristic, the second nostalgic. Yet all the while they stay cohesive enough to provide some three minute gems of kitchen sink emo-pop. The wonderfully titled ‘The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide Is Press Coverage’ is a perfect example of this: a pumping acoustic guitar-led party song, breaking down halfway through to some nigh-on euphoric dance bleeps.
Unsurprisingly, that forms part of the album’s “futuristic” half, but the more retrospective side of A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out is no less inventive. The band’s Las Vegas roots show themselves on the camp-as-Christmas showtune ‘There’s A Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven’t Thought Of It Yet’. Complete with brass section and Lovecats-style jazz piano, you can almost see the accompanying tapdance routine. Let’s just hope the record buying public are ready for such frivolity, because the world needs to hear Panic! At The Disco.