Former emo-pop heart-throbs and Reading festival bottle-bait Panic! At The Disco fully shake off the angsty histrionics of their old tunes on their fourth album, and hit the dance floor with gleeful abandon. A heady mixture of glistening synths, chunky pop-punk guitars and frontman Brendon Urie’s yelpy, cut-glass vocal, this new LP is a tribute to the band’s hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada. But while its title is lifted from Hunter S Thompson’s ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ – an acerbic novel that cast ‘Sin City’ as a Day-Glo hellhole – the vibe of ‘Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!’ is virulent and unabashed, supposedly inspired by Urie finally getting over his ‘outsider’ cynicism and throwing himself into the Vegas club scene.
Building on the more glossy sound of their last LP ‘Vices & Virtues’, ‘Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die!’ sees the former emo kids popping bottles rather than having them thrown at them. ‘Give it to me now, we’re lost in a dream now,’ Urie belts out on the irresistible party banger ‘Vegas Lights’ – a stark contrast to the guylinered young man who once told us that ‘the only difference between martyrdom and suicide is press coverage’. The lyrics are punchy and anthemic and, aside from some more sober moments – like the simmering Depeche Mode-esque title track and the mournful piano ballad closer ‘The End of Things’ – the album struts along with four-on-the-floor verve. It all makes for an unlikely pop gem.
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