Las Vegas band’s debut disc both creative, clever
Observer Scene | Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Las Vegas natives Panic! At the Disco took a huge gamble when they decided to throw themselves completely into their band after high school. Ryan Ross, Spencer Smith, Brendon Urie and Brent Wilson hit the jackpot when their music caught the attention of Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy. Fall Out Boy (who has recently gained notoriety for the hit-single “Sugar, We’re going down”) brought Panic! At the Disco to the independent label Fueled by Ramen Record, on which the band recently released its debut album, “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out.” When first listening to Panic! At the Disco, the band sounds obnoxiously similar to Fall Out Boy. The lead singers have nearly identical voices and both bands have a penchant for titling their songs with rambling allusions. However, as the band asserts in its song “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage,” Panic! At the Disco “swear[s] to shake it up, if you swear to listen.”The band took deliberate measures in order to avoid making an album filled with songs all sounding the same. They wrote half the songs separately, and as a result, the first half is quite different from the second. The former contains upbeat tracks laced with electronic dance beats. The band introduces itself and its philosophy through the first few songs. Panic! At the Disco recognizes the danger of being swept up by fans and the media as copies of successful bands like Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance. In “London Beckoned Songs About Money Written By Machines,” the band claims that it is “just a wet dream for the web-zines;” however, Panic! At the Disco refuses to be more then an empty sensation by backing their music up with “more than good hooks.”The album reaches a sarcastic fervor with “Lying is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off” (an allusion to a Natalie Portman line in the movie “Closer”). The album catches the listener off guard with the abrupt appearance of the intermission. This track features a flashy techno dance beat that brings an unwelcome flashback to the horrors of prom. One should not reach for the glow sticks too quickly, however, because piano keys abruptly replace the techno beats. This transition signifies the direction the second half of the album will take. Instead of featuring synthesizers and electronic drum beats, the latter tracks feature accordions, horns and cellos. The band exhibits a Ska sensibility in “There’s a Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey. You Just Haven’t Thought of it Yet.”Panic! At the Disco brings a unique combination of creativity and cleverness to the table with its debut. Although the band can initially appear a bit generic, there is more than meets the ear in this gem of an album. The band is currently touring this fall on the Nintendo Fusion Tour alongside Fall Out Boy, The Starting Line, Motion City Soundtrack and Boys Night Out.