Now that drummer Spencer Smith has officially left the band, Panic! At the Disco is the solo act of founding member/lead singer/musical wunderkind Brendon Urie. This isn’t a bad thing. With Death of a Bachelor Panic! has released their best album since debut A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. Mixing a range of styles, from pop-punk to electronic hip-hop to the swing/dance hall music of A Fever, Urie and his platoon of writers has crafted one hell of a fun album.
The album kicks off with “Victorious”, a sing-songy relentless rhyme fest that immediately recalls the style of the band’s debut with a heavy electronic sheen pushing the bass and sing-along chorus to the max. Rivers Cuomo is credited here as a writer and you can hear the Weezer influence clearly. From there the hip-hop tinged “Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time” recounts a night Brendon can’t remember over another immensely singable chorus.
Where the last album, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die went too far with the electronica, here Panic! finds their rock band soul and avoids the pitfall the newly resurrected Fall Out Boy blundered into by ignoring their roots and going too far into the pop realm. Death of a Bachelor is a rock album at its core and a damn good one at that. It may be slickly produced but there is no denying how catchy the songs are and Urie effortlessly shifts genres from beat to beat, even trying his hand at a Sinatra croon on the title track.
The first welcome surprise of 2016.
Essential tracks: Victorious, Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time, Crazy=Genius, The Good The Bad The Dirty