Panic! At The Disco first sprung into action with their debut single 'I Write Sins Not Tragedies' in the hazy halcyon days of the emo/pop-punk trends. Seven years later, and they've wiped the make up off their faces and returned with their fourth studio album - Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die.
Taking strong influences from 80s music and Las Vegas, the town where the band spent most of their teen years, Panic's latest offering is most definitely one to enjoy turned up loud with plenty of room to dance. There's hints at their debut, A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, whilst also nudging towards being near-identical to a Fall Out Boy album. So have they done enough to put their mark back on an ever-evolving music scene, or are they stuck firmly in emo's history books?
'This Is Gospel'
If we're honest this should probably have taken second place to lead single 'Miss Jackson', which would have served as a better introduction to the album. That said however, 'This Is Gospel' packs such a punch with it's big chorus and instantly likeable melodies that we're willing to forgive them.
The first single to be released from the album, it certainly gave evidence of the new direction Panic! At The Disco have headed in regards to their music. Featuring a sweet vocal from Lolo, 'Miss Jackson' is a fast-paced, anthemic beast of a song - not too dissimilar to their pals in Fall Out Boy's new sound. It's full to the brim of powerful chants that will undoubtedly get crowds in uproar. Expect to hear it dominating future live shows.
'The Vegas Lights'
If 'Miss Jackson' doesn't get you all up and dancing, then 'The Vegas Lights' most certainly will. Kicking off with a pulsating drum beat and crazy synth line, it's like something dragged right out of the 80s. It certainly fits the name of the song and the idea that the album is based on Las Vegas. This album certainly isn't lacking in "woah oh's", which makes the songs easily appealing to listeners and this particular track has a whole chorus dedicated to them!
'Girl That You Love'
This sounds like an 80s experiment gone wrong. After such a positive start to the album it's a little disappointing to stumble across. It's a bit of an auto-tuned mess and doesn't really progress as a song and in no way compliments the album. Shame.
HOLY MOLY! Now we are talking. This track has got 'party hit' scrawled all over it - and not in a horrendously cheesy way. Opening with a guitar riff that completely owns the whole track, it automatically picks you up and throws you into a world of fun. "I taste you on my lips and I can't get rid of you. So I say damn your kiss and the awful things you do, you're worse than nictoine." builds up to the almighty chorus, showing off Urie's majestic writing style once again.
'Girls Girls Boys'
Beginning with a melody that can only be described as something that came out of a Gameboy and then flows into something that doesn't quite sit right, 'Girls Girls Boys' has sections that give the potential of building into another epic anthem, but for some reason it just doesn't quite get there and we end up hovering the over the skip button a little too often.
A deep and dark synth line opens this track, with a robot-Skrillex esque dub beat that wobbles underneath Urie's vocals. Compared to the other sprightly pop tracks, this twists things to another level, opening up a different side to the new Panic! At The Disco sound. It's dramatic and slightly creepy, something that the group have portrayed in previous releases such as 'The Ballad of Mona Lisa' so it's not a massive surprise, but an exciting element to the album.
'Far Too Young To Die'
There appears to be a running theme throughout this album, and that's that you'll have an absolute blinder of a song, something that could lift any dreary mood, which is then followed by something that forces us to keep the yawns in. The problems lying with 'Far Too Young To Die' is that it just sounds too over-produced, like a kid walking into a keyboard shop and turning everything on at once.
Things pick up again with another dancey anthem in the form of 'Collar Full'. A racey number filled with more buzzing synth lines, it makes us reminisce of the A Fever You Can't Sweat Out days and the reasons why Panic! at the Disco fell into our record collection so easily.
'The End Of All Things'
Aptly named for the finale of the record, 'The End Of All Things' is an elegant piano ballad that soothes the ears with the added strings and Urie's delicate harmonising over the top. It sounds like something taken straight from an emotional rom-com, with a hint of influence from Imogen Heap, almost a lullaby. It's powerful without needing the drama of the band's persona and is a perfect way to close an album like this.
Panic! At The Disco have taken leaps and bounds with their new record, giving it more of an electro pop feel whilst still remaining a rock record. There's some incredibly well-written and awesomely produced tracks on Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die that are undoubtedly massive hits in the making. However there are also one two many tracks that leave us a little disheartened. It's just a good job that these don't overshadow how fantastic the rest of the album is.
Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die is available 8 October, via Fueled By Ramen Records.