Brendon Urie may be the only member remaining in Panic! At The Disco, but his band has never sounded as complete as it does now.
With Panic! At The Disco’s fifth full-length, Death of a Bachelor, Urie is firing off every weapon in his sonic arsenal that he has acquired since his debut, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, released over a decade ago. The best part of Panic! being a one-man show is that now Urie’s got the go-ahead to let his influences — and weirdness — shine through, and it does just that on all eleven tracks.
Album opener and lead single, “Victorious,” is chaotic and straight-forward pop bliss, highlighted by crunchy guitars and an addicting child-like chant. There isn’t any shortage of numbers like “Victorious” on Death of a Bachelor — the soaring “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” is backed by a B-52’s sample (“Lobster Rock”) while “LA Devotee” is a standout with toe-tapping verses that lead into an explosive chorus. In general, every song you’ll find on Death of a Bachelor has a memorable chorus, showing that even if Urie lost band members, he never lost the ability to write an incredible hook.
He sure as hell hasn’t lost his vocal ability either, which was always an essential part of Panic! At The Disco to begin with. It’s only fitting that the album with the catchiest songs Urie has ever written coincides with the best vocal performance that he’s given on an album, too. It doesn’t take long into the title track in order to know who Urie is emulating here — it’s a full-fledged Frank Sinatra tribute fused with a classic Panic! touch and, unsurprisingly, it works out quite well. The other Sinatra-esque track, closer “Impossible Year,” boasts horns and piano, an accompaniment that simply suits Urie’s voice brilliantly.
Perhaps the most charming thing about Death of a Bachelor as a whole is its balance between the radio-ready pop, the risks that you’ll find in the Sinatra jams, and stuff like the jazzy “Crazy=Genius” and grandiose “Hallelujah.” It all meshes together effortlessly to make for the most ambitious, and best, Panic! album ever made — but more importantly, it proves that Panic! At The Disco’s illustrious career is only truly getting started.
(by Joe DeAndrea)