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ATP! Album Review: Panic! At The Disco - Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die

It’s really a good thing that Panic! At The Disco came to their senses quite some time ago and punctuated the hell out of themselves again. The exclamation point acts as a warning for what’s to come, hints at the element of surprise and gives a certain something extra - highly representative of a band who, like that little point on the page, jump right into things with a bang.

In much the same fashion, latest record Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die is no exception as it leaps in with opener ‘This Is Gospel.’ Somewhat anthemic with its catchy breakdowns, the upbeat number serves well in showing off the extent of true Panic at the Disco style and vocal range, whilst gang vocals add that little something more. Sure, it may not be summer anymore, but this one comes with a recommendation to roll down the windows, blare the music and scream your heart out.

Ordinarily, a first track might set the tone for what’s to come, but that’s not necessarily the case here, considering that the result of the album in general tends to sound like what one could only imagine the lovechild of Fall Out Boy and a plethora of 80’s bands might emulate. ‘Girl That You Love’ and ‘Girls/ Girls/ Boys’ add to the 80s vibe considerably, each with an awesome disco beat and a blend of frontman Brendon Urie’s signature falsetto and smoothe svelte you’ll be sure to find yourself singing along to.

Despite a somewhat indulgent title, Too Weird To Live, Too Young To Die is actually kind of a concept album exploring the band’s hometown, Las Vegas. With a recurrent theme of appearance versus reality, many of the songs disguise a darker undercurrent with effortless glamor – something the band are arguably no stranger to. If disguise, in the form of special effects is what you’re after, this record has them in abundance. Rather than using them to hide behind as such though, the three piece cleverly utilizes them to accentuate their sound. ‘Casual Affair’ is especially trance like, building its crescendo toward the end before a sudden yet quirky transition to keys, while ‘Far Too Young’’s spacey intro sets us up for the somewhat melancholy lyrics ‘far too young to die’, a sentiment which echoes long after the final notes ring out.

Continuing in the vein of secrecy and sin, most notably, lead single ‘Miss Jackson’ featuring Lolo delivers in a wickedly delightful way. If ever there was a time to rock out a cheeky little slut-drop, it’s now. It’s not the only club-friendly song by any means – there’s plenty more that do the trick, and perhaps in a friendlier manner full stop. ‘Vegas Lights’ and ‘Collar Full’ are the two striking examples.

As it might suggest, 'The End Of All Things', is, unsurprisingly, the end of a generally impressive ten track offering. From its hauntingly beautiful intro, to the multiple layers and harmonies which complete it; there’s an element of comfort in the piece which makes it the perfect rainy day accompaniment. There’s something of a familiarity here, too. Think Imogen Heap’s Hide and Seek with a generous helping of keys and strings.

Panic! have done well here to produce such a multi-faceted offering, but at times, the individual clusters of each genre represented, can, upon first listening, appear a little samey. This is perhaps the only criticism for a record which well and truly reminds us that Panic! Are! Back! With spaced out overlays of distinctive 80’s tones, combined with the unique blend of electro, dance and pop-rock reminiscent of their A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out days, it firmly cements the guys back to their roots in style from the outset - while still managing to add a spark eccentric and eclectic enough to shake things up more than a little. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this fourth studio album is lacking in any way in originality. Remember, the band has never been a stranger to this increasingly evident dancey feel – disco by name, disco by nature.


Claire Louise Sheridan

Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die will be released on October 8th via Decaydance/Fueled By Ramen.

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