Panic! At The Disco - Vices & Virtues

Good, but not great.

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Atlantic | By Chris Cope | Rating: 3
Panic! At The Disco - Vices & Virtues

When half of Panic At The Disco left the band in 2009, it really was panic; and it wasn’t so much of a disco, either. The band had, a year earlier, dropped their stunning album ‘Pretty. Odd.’ which eschewed their emo roots and ploughed a Beatles-esque, psychedelic pop sound. They’d also dropped the exclamation mark in their name, thank God.

But, the blighter is back. They’re Panic! At The Disco again, and with the punctuation they bring ‘Vices & Virtues’, their third studio album. It opens with first single ‘The Ballad of Mona Lisa’, a sprightly tune layered in radio-friendly sheen, but despite some hook-filled flourishes, fails to elevate itself into anything spectacular.

That theme is repeated throughout the album; good, but not great. For every ‘Always’, a stirring, mellow track with succulent vocals, there’s a ‘Ready to Go [Get Me Out Of My Mind]’, an electro-pop styled number lacking purpose and perhaps most tellingly, lacking any pizzazz.

It’s perhaps not much of a surprise then that this album’s shining light – ‘Nearly Witches [Ever Since We Met…]’ heralds Ryan Ross, former guitarist and principal songwriter, in its writing credits. It’s a crazed, off-the-wall adventure which strongly hints at Panic! At The Disco’s classic pop indulges of their previous album, and it is all the better for it.

Without any doubt, great kudos should go to frontman Brendon Urie’s valiant attempts to keep the Panic! At The Disco ship on course after the band’s nuclear fall-out of 2009. But on this showing, it seems like the hardy vessel is bobbing at sea, engine stalled, unsure of its next destination.