Panic! at the disco- Pretty.Odd

Is it Panic with or without the exclamation mark these days? Because, regardless of their claims to be the same band, in their opening track they just aren’t. The second album for a band like Panic, who exploded onto our scene on the back of Fall Out Boy’s success and indie disco’s popularity; was always going to be a challenge. It became pretty evident as ‘A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out’ was nearing the end, beating the excitement, energy and intensity the first album poured out in buckets, was a task not even worth contemplating prior to 'Pretty.Odd' reaching the studios.

With songwriter and bass player Brent Wilson leaving the band, Brandon and co had to start from scratch, learn how to write massive hits, and well… replace him. Jon Walker gladly stepped in, and the rest as we say, is history.

The temptation to write this review in rhyming couplets, was brought about entirely by this fantastic, riveting, unbelievably good CD. Yes, you can listen to it first time round and burn it. If you do, most Panic fanatics, band members and critics would forgive you. But make sure you buy the album again, because honestly; this grower is destined to become a firm favourite.

Remember The Killers second album? Didn’t go down too badly at Glastonbury ’07 you might say? Arctic Monkeys- Favourite Worst Nightmare; not a touch on the first? It’s fair to criticise Panic, the emo, big beat quintet for losing their roots, turning their back on adolescent years and stepping into American country indie, but, the change should be welcomed with open arms. 'Pretty.Odd' is quite clearly created by a band who aren’t stupid enough to try and fight the teen angst and subtle sarcasm the first managed to portray so bloody well and instead provide a laid back testosterone boy. They aren’t virgins anymore perhaps?

A continuing theme throughout 'Pretty.Odd' lies in the weather, changing seasons and coincidently - change. It’s an alteration I don’t expect you to accept first time round, but one I hope with 4 or 5 listens you embrace. A long album also, consisting of 15 tracks in total; all of which fit hand to glove. Over compensated, random track names are still a quirky touch added by the boys, matched with fancy artwork and glamorous stage attire. The package is still there. Look out for brilliant first release ‘Nine In The Afternoon’, ‘Northern Downpour’, ‘When The Day Met The Night’ and ‘Mad As Rabbits’ as catchy and much-loved. What Jon manages to bring to the band is unsung, contrasting Brandon’s vocals at points that send chills and smiles down my spine.

It’s a magnificent return, one I can’t allow to leave my stereo. Criticise as you will, ignore at your peril. Panic may not have been your cup of tea first time round, but right now; music lovers can’t argue with this stonker.