I first discovered Panic! at the Disco on MTV's website. I was instantly drawn to the Moulin Rouge-esque video for "I Write Sins Not Tragedies", and the 80s girl in me that had been starving for some fun, frolicking, eyeliner-enhanced music was totally hooked.
Nurtured by Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz, these Las Vegas boys have compiled a very ambitious album. It's split into two parts, with a dance-punk feel to the first half that melds into more theatrical, almost vaudevillian pop numbers at the end. They've scored hit singles from both halves of the album, a testament to their versatility.
My favorite part of the album starts at the intermission, which transitions from electronic sounds into a tinkly piano solo that sounds like something out of an old western--or the score to a silent film. This leads right into the theatrical "But It's Better If You Do", followed by the aforementioned "I Write Sins..." which is my favorite track on the CD. After this it skips right into a 20s-inspired jaunty "I Know These Tables Are Numbered..." These lilting, connected songs are invigorating, intoxicating, and innovative in their blend of old and new.
I was reminded heavily of Queen while listening to this CD. The music is rich and multi-layered, each song daring to be more than just a ballad or a dance tune. Along with guitar, bass, and drums they've enlisted piano, keyboards, organ, accordion, cello, violin, and trumpet. While the young Brendon Urie doesn't yet have Freddie Mercury's vocal prowess, he aspires to it. Urie's clear tenor soars and then tumbles and then skips over the rolling tongue twisters Panic's lyricist Ryan Ross has given him.
This CD is fun, and dramatic, and tunes like "Lying is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off" are sexy as well. A Fever You Can't Sweat Out is a great candidate for your iPod--listening with headphones will make sure you don't miss a single carefully orchestrated nuance of Panic! at the Disco's powerful first effort.