Panic! at the Disco
Vices & Virtues


3.0
good

Review

by Xenophanes STAFF
March 18th, 2011 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Although "Vices & Virtues" ultimately falls flat from a lack of inspiration, there's enough fun-factor here to warrant repeated listens.

It’s admirable, really, how Panic! At the Disco have seemed to have kept it together these past couple of years. After all, had they broken up, who could blame them" Not too long after the release of their second full length, Pretty. Odd. (and album which received a fairly lukewarm response), the band literally split into two, with Panic! losing their longtime guitar and bass players. With the departure of Ryan Ross and John Walker In 2009, all that was left was the humble duo of Brendan Urie and Spencer Smith.--the word “uncertainty” never fit so well. However, if Vices & Virtues is any indicator, the future looks fairly bright indeed.

When Panic! came (read: exploded) onto the scene in the mid 2000’s, they were a breath of fresh air into the stagnant “Fueled By Ramen” label, injecting life and fervor into a rather uninspired crowd. Yet two years later, Pretty. Odd proved to be a strange departure from the electro-infused pop that had made them a household name. Featuring simpler song structure, and a more traditional “rock” sound, the album depicted a new direction in regards to the band’s sound, and Vices & Virtues follows suit.

Yet I can’t feel as though this stripped down sound has hurt the band in some way. Yes, trimming the saccharine coated techno/pop has made the band more accessible, but at the cost of the character and personality that was bursting from the seams. This is where Vices & Virtues really strikes out--it’s boisterously, epically, and irrevocably flat, bland, and uninspired. The snappy lyricism and quirky style have been completely eradicated, leaving a fairly bare bones product, that neither challenges nor intrigues the listener. You wont hear Urie singing about overheard scandalous gossip, or a dance party turned tragedy, instead, you get by the books love songs sung not so cleverly, lacking the “cute“ tongue-in-cheek moments. For every off-kilter colorful line, Urie throws out an “[i]And it’s killing me inside,” lathering on the melodrama and cheese.

Musically, however, Panic! have brought some of their most catchy and fun material to date, which is saying quite a lot. Mixing the bombastic nature of A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, and the straight forward classic rock of Pretty. Odd., Vices & Virtues finds a nice middle ground. It’s not erupting with the erratic styles found in the former, nor is it gliding along with the class and poise of the latter. Instead, the album deftly settles into a sweet spot, marrying the two sides that have been Panic! these past several years . Yet despite the wonderful blending of the two, Vices & Virtues manages to be painfully “simple.” Quite literally, the album you hear in the first run-through will be the album that you hear the second, third, and fourth times. There’s nothing here to really unravel, as Panic’s simplistic delivery has made an album devoid of any real complexities. While it’s true that nothing they have ever done has ever really been overly complex, it was fun to try and unwrap what Urie was actually singing about, or find your way around the far more intricate layers of instrumentals. All in all, the album comes across as far too juvenile and basic--pop-rock, not a la mode.

That being said, what comes with the overly simplistic is the overly catchy, and Panic! has brought the hooks in droves. You’ll have no problems jumping into “The Ballad of Mona Lisa” and “Ready To Go” over and over again, belting out each chorus line in joviality. Yes it’s silly, but it’s also fun as hell, especially when the jazzy trumpets and Danny Elfman-esque strings get going. The guys clearly enjoyed making each colorful track, and it truly does shine through, making for a thoroughly enjoyable record, despite its brazen simplicity. Urie’s voice is still just as charming as ever, and honestly sounds more matured as well, giving a nice warmth to his already impressive vocals. It’s varied as well, with the thoughtful, acoustic guitar “Always,” the quick paced, “Trade Mistakes,” and the beat and clap filled “Let’s Kill Tonight.” Really, it’s easy to slide right in to any of the songs, and at a brief thirty-seven minutes, Vices & Virtues manages to be adequately timed, allowing for a cursory listen that lets the hooks and lines wash over you, rather than inundate you.

Vices & Virtues really should be seen as a new chapter in the life of Panic! At the Disco. Sure it’s not perfect, and it really doesn’t even come close to touching their debut, but it’s a fantastic step in the right direction, exuding the catchy cuteness that has made the band such a joy to listen to all these years.



Recent reviews by this author
Dead To A Dying World ElegyInter Arma Sulphur English
Waste of Space Orchestra SyntheosisVous Autres Champ du Sang
Vanum Ageless FireKrallice Wolf
user ratings (784)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
SowingSeason STAFF (4)
Panic puts the exclamation point on their triumphant return from 2008's disappointing album "Pretty....

thatoneguy726 (4.5)
Show them all you're not the ordinary type....

Asiatic667 (4)
Panic! sweat out their sophomore fever while remaining both odd and pretty...

YourBore (4)
A return to stylistic form and lack of filler material propels Vices & Virtues over most recent pop-...



Comments:Add a Comment 
pizzamachine
March 18th 2011


14152 Comments


Great review, sounds like I would like their old electronic stuff. Btw, watch out! I have 94 reviews!

Tyrael
March 18th 2011


21113 Comments


Another great Xeno review! Your 100th is coming close!

bloc
March 18th 2011


55093 Comments


Despite my current score, I wouldn't be surprised if I started to feel like this over time.

Digging: The Chemical Brothers - No Geography

Steoandnoodles
March 18th 2011


2832 Comments


Perhaps I'll give it a listen after all. I dunno, I was never a fan of the band. =/

Acanthus
March 18th 2011


9812 Comments


“[i]And it’s killing me inside,” lathering on the melodrama and cheese. "

think you're missing a /i at the end there.

Agree with the rating, this just didn't stick with me except for a few tracks.

Phideaux
March 18th 2011


1662 Comments


I was never really a fan either, but I'll still give it a listen. Good review, man.

luci
March 18th 2011


10767 Comments


Agree with this review

Aids
March 18th 2011


24456 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

great album

bloc
March 18th 2011


55093 Comments


Don't listen to him!

Knott-
Emeritus
March 18th 2011


10211 Comments


IN POSITIVE NEWS THIS HAD MADE ME RELISTEN TO THEIR NOT BAD FIRST ALBUM AND REALISE IT IS IN FACT AWESOME

Steoandnoodles
March 18th 2011


2832 Comments


I know as a fan of music and to be a decent human being; I should remain optimistic and give it a listen. To be fair; they seem like really nice guys and it's not to tarnish their creativity or intellect but I simply don't like their music. =/


CatfishSoup
March 19th 2011


272 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Hit the nail on the head, great review. The lack of 'Character' is spot on, that's what's been bugging me about this album!

AtavanHalen
March 19th 2011


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

an album which received a fairly lukewarm response




Right, was that before or after the debut in the top 5 of the Billboard Top 200 chart and U.K. chart, as well as reaching the top ten in New Zealand, Austria, Ireland and Australia (where it went to #1 and the band played the largest venues in our fair country). That's not even mentioning the generally positive critical reception - some of the old mates on Sputnik weren't too keen on the album, but apart from that it's pretty clear you don't really know what "lukewarm" means.

AtavanHalen
March 19th 2011


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I have not given it the attention it deserves.



We're talking about Vices, right? I'm awaiting my copy.

AtavanHalen
March 19th 2011


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I listened to half of it, but I've just been very busy. I should probably make more time for one of my absolute favourite bands, but I'm just a bad person.

AtavanHalen
March 19th 2011


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sounds awesome!



Can't wait for them to come back to Oz.

AtavanHalen
March 19th 2011


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, guess not.



Okay, I'm giving this a proper listen and I'm liking it quite a bit. 4 at this stage.

Tyrael
March 21st 2011


21113 Comments


So I heard that there was a new Xenophanes review and that it was pretty damn fantastic.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy