The plan is for me to eventually review all the albums I got last Christmas by this Christmas. It’s important to stay ahead of the game and be totally topical.
I absolutely recommend Pretty Odd by Panic! At The Disco. And yes, just as Human League’s 'Romantic?' should always be mentioned using question intonation, it’s pronounced PANIC!!! At The Disco. Possibly with jazz hands.
The album’s basically an American attempt at Britpop. It has that sort of ELO meets Chas’N’Dave’s piano with the trumpet section from ‘The Theme From Minder’ vibe, particularly on the opening segue from the ‘Sgt Pepper’-esque ‘We’re So Starving’ to the ‘Mr Blue Sk’y-tastic almost-a-hit ‘Nine In The Afternoon’. This track also illustrates a couple of other aspects of the band; their trying-too-hard lyrics and the fact that all their songs are strong, catchy tracks –sabotaged by being quirky for the sake of it (for example, NITA’s wrong-footing time signature).
That said, the songwriting is consistently inventive and each song passes the Jonny-will-skip-ahead-if-nothing-interesting-happens-in-the-first-30-seconds test. Just as you’ve ‘got’ a song sussed something unexpected happens – a change in arrangement, tempo, whatever. Reminds me of Jellyfish or The Boo Radleys or Super Furry Animals. Or even Octopus, the 8-piece band which outnumbered its fanbase by about 7. It’s Americans being quirky – but without that self-consciously arch quality you find with The Flaming Lips and The Hoosiers (plus, unlike The Hoosiers, they have more than one song).
I can’t imagine a worse time to release a psuedo-Britpop album, as landfill indie is finally being turfed over, which is a shame as Panic! At The Disco deserve to sell enough copies of each album to be given the chance to record another one. We can’t have enough bands that are trying to sound a little bit like The Beatles.
Additional: Oh, they've just split up. Bugger.