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Panic! At The Disco - A Fever You Can't Sweat

Panic! At The Disco, A Fever You Can't Sweat Out

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

LAS Vegas-based quartet Panic! At The Disco are well worth taking a gamble on.

Their debut album A Fever You Can’t Sweat arrives off the back of sold-out UK shows and strong word of mouth that suggests the band could be the hottest thing to emerge from Vegas since The Killers.

What’s more, they don’t conform to any one particular genre, despite citing influences as well recognised as Third Eye Blind, Counting Crows and Blink 182.

The band is the brainchild of Ryan Ross and Specner Smith, who began jamming together after their respective parents gave them a guitar and drum kit at the age of 12.

Yet while an initial listen gives rise to the suspicion that they are cut from the same cloth as Fall Out Boy, or any number of their influences, try checking out the inventive lyrics and the difference in styles that deliberately cuts the album in half.

Says Ryan: “We didn’t want to write a record that had 11 of the same songs on it.”

Hence, the first half is deliberately futuristic, complete with drum machines and synthesizers, while the second is purely nostalgic, complete with Vaudevillian piano and accordian.

Their ambition is evident from the lengthy names of their songs – which avoid the risk of sounding pretentious because of the quality of their songwriting.

The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage kicks things off in impressive style, with some strong guitars, the odd flash of electronica and some feisty lyrics. It ends like a statement of intent with the telling lyric ‘dear studio audience, I’ve an announcement to make, it seems the artists these days are not who you think, but we’ll pick back on that on another page’.

The ambitious lyrics are continued on tracks like Camisado, an alt-rock gem that boasts a catchy chorus and the same sort of melodic song structures that Third Eye Blind thrive on.

Lyrically, the song is just as striking, kicking off with ‘this is the scent of dead skin on a linoleum floor, this is the scent of quarantine wings in a hospital’. It gives way to a completely catchy chorus that is tailor-made for sing-alongs: “You can take the kid out of the fight but you can’t take the fight out of the kid.”

The violent imagery continues on Time To Dance, which begins with the line ‘oh please, she’s not bleeding on the ballroom floor just for the attention’. It’s an energetic workout of a track, packed with slabs of electronica and fast-paced guitars that once again explode into a memorable chorus.

Plenty of bands sing about lost love and betrayal but Panic! At The Disco do so with extra vitriol – adding an extra kick to the impact of their songs.

Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off is a classic case in point, an altogether edgier track, constructed around simpler riffs, that includes such choice vitriol as ‘’well then I think of what you did, and I hope to God he was worth it, when the lights are dim and your heart is racing as you’re fingers touch your skin, I’ve got more wit, a better kiss, a hotter touch… a better fuck’.

It’s after this point the album changes pace. Intermission is a sort of manic dance track, built around synths and frenetic beats, that really calls time on the futuristic sound.

It paves the way for some crisper, more melodic tracks such as former single, I Write Sins Not Tragedies and But It’s Better If You Do – both of which reflect on love in warped fashion.

The latter finds the singer ‘praying for love in a lapdance and paying in naivety’, while I Write Sins demonstrates the band’s barbed wit, focusing on a wedding where it’s a shame that ‘the poor groom’s bride is a whore’.

Such songs, in particular, seem to have come right out of the hedonistic environment that is late-night Vegas.

The remainder of the album unfolds in similarly impressive fashion, drawing on classic instruments to augment the overall sound.

It adds up to an extremely impressive debut that provides a veritable jackpot for anyone willing to join its ride.

Track listing:

  1. Introduction
  2. Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage
  3. London Beckoned Songs About Money Written by Machines
  4. Nails for Breakfast, Tacks for Snacks
  5. Camisado
  6. Time to Dance
  7. Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off
  8. Intermission
  9. But It’s Better If You Do
  10. I Write Sins Not Tragedies
  11. I Constantly Thank God for Esteban
  12. There’s a Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven’t
  13. Build God, Then We’ll Talk