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Friday, 21 December 2012

Panic at the Disco - Vices and Virtues

I really enjoyed the first two Panic at the Disco albums and had high hopes for this one. 'A fever you can't sweat out' was frenetic and anthemic, 'Pretty Odd' was quirky and heartfelt, 'Vice and Virtues' falls into the disturbing netherworld category of 'quite good'. It's not annoying, passionate, gruelling or enlightening; it's just quite good. Which ironically is never a good thing.

The difficult third Panic album gets caught betwix and between the first two. The first half is fast paced pure pop akin to 'A Fever...' but endearingly cheesy with just the hint of Eurovision. 'Mona Lisa', 'Let's Kill' and 'Hurricane' all fit this format and on first listen are great, but on repeated exposure are throwaway and vacuous. The second half travels halfway to Quirksville without going the whole distance, and the songs are folky, fun and frolicsome, but ultimately unsatisfying. 'Always' fits the bill perfectly; it's got all the ingredients of gorgeous-ness, but ends up tasting like Quorn.

Another reason not to like the LP is that the tracks seem to be ordered by quality, with first the best and number ten the worst. This is never good tactics as the listener feels that things are steadily moving downhill as the album progresses. Although having said that, 'Sarah Smiles' has grown on me to the point where it's my favourite track, however I doubt anyone else will share that opinion.

It pains me to say this, but 'Vices & Virtues' is let down by the fact it tries to please everyone and comes nowhere near matching the standard of the first two. It's like a Bedfordshire Clanger (look it up food fans), it has a savoury and a sweet end, but neither are particularly tasty and in the middle section they've got mixed together a bit. If you were a farm worker from the last Century you'd munch it happily enough, belch, and say "That was quite good." But you'd rather eat some blue cheese, an oyster or a fermented herring wouldn't you?


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