CD Review: Panic! At the Disco—the best thing to come out of Sin City since the slot machine

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Even the most discriminating musical ears sometimes make assumptions. For example, in the last several years, it has become easy to think that all bands emphasize writing hit singles in place of writing quality albums. It would also be easy to assume that punk rock infused with dance music would be about as effective as trying to get a tan at the North Pole. Panic! At The Disco take those assumptions, press the barrel firmly against them and pull the trigger with their debut album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out.

The Las Vegas natives have combined elements of punk, electronic, folk and classical and created an album that makes you believe a mosh pit could break out at a Broadway play.

The record is poetic (literally and figuratively) from start to finish, with unexpected changes in structure and the use of repetition to add emphasis. Fever is also inventive musically, utilizing not only the standard electric guitar, bass and drums, but also adding acoustic guitar, piano, organ and accordion. This makes for a more diverse sonic blend than you can expect from the increasingly common cookie cutter, “punk-by-numbers” bands that have become so common from major labels hoping to cash in on a trend.

The album’s opening song “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage,” serves as a mission statement of sorts, with lead singer Brandon Urie explaining “I’m the narrator, and this is just the prologue”—just in case anyone was thinking about not listening carefully to what he has to say over the next 40 minutes. However, with the urgency in his voice so apparent, it is unlikely that listeners would make that mistake.

Barely out of high school, one could assume that the members of Panic! At The Disco have a long way to go before reaching their pinnacle. But if assumptions are to be made, perhaps the one most likely to be accurate is this: Panic! At The Disco will be the biggest thing to come out of Sin City since the slot machine—or at least since C.S.I.

From the Dec. 14-20, 2005, issue

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