Panic at the Disco

    {grate 3} They’re like kids in a candy shop, really — Panic at the
    Disco trashed the altar, throwing out those Dashboard Confessional and Blink
    182 albums and replacing them with a copy of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely
    Hearts Club Band.

    Panic’s sophomore effort Pretty. Odd is just that — taking a
    dramatic 180 from the whines of My Chemical Romance and diverging from the
    Grammy-winning Foo Fighters, who are still endlessly rehashing the same
    formulaic, pop-punk drivel that Dave Grohl learned from his Nirvana days.

    Pretty. Odd has lost most strains of punk, but not much pop.
    They’ve stripped away all of the extraneous noise from A Fever You Can’t Sweat
    Out: the distortion, the pointless song titles, the pretension, the pathetic
    four-chord wonders. Instead, the arrangement is minimalistic and bare — in
    “Nine in the Afternoon,” you can actually hear Ryan Ross’ guitar lines (all of
    which are tuned and amplified to recreate an almost Eagles-esque sound). The
    vocals seamlessly weave together in harmonies, not unlike the Beach Boys.

    For the most part, Panic’s attempt to reach retro is
    successful. Some of the songs (“Folkin’ Around” and “She Had the World”) are
    far-reaching, but the rest are lush with background harmonicas and orchestral
    bits that are a pleasant reprieve from the out-of-place techno drum beats found
    on Fever.

    The band also holds onto its sense of humor. They blatantly
    rob from Sgt. Pepper with the one-two punch “We’re So Starving,” and “Nine in
    the Afternoon” mirrors “A Little Help from My Friends,” with seamless
    transition from first track to second and the faux-live audience in the

    Songs like “Mad As Rabbits” make fairytale allusions to
    “Alice in Wonderland,” and “Do You Know What I’m Seeing” even takes its chorus
    straight from Carroll. Props to Panic for such whimsical referencing and the
    ability to pull it off with style.

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