Although the lineup of Panic! at the Disco of has been an endlessly changing whirlwind, frontman Brendon Urie has managed to keep what is uniquely his: punk spunk. Writing and recording without any of his former bandmates, Urie altered the direction of the “band’s” sound. Panic’s discography colors within the lines with a familiar hue, but now, with its sixth head-banging record, Pray for the Wicked, he melds modern-era synth-pop with the rock with which Panic! at the Disco’s fans fell in love.
Pray For The Wicked updates the band’s emo-friendly sound, marrying rock with jazzy instrumentation. “Roaring 20s” hints at how the song will feel and doesn’t disappoint coming through the speakers. Urie’s silky storytelling vocals are paired with the narrative nature of the song. However, “Silver Linings” jumps forward to the ’60s, with radio static giving way into a rhythm of electronically styled saxophone.
The band has sprinkled in some outrageously catchy dance anthems as well. Urie dedicates “Hey Look Ma, I Made It” to those who doubted his career choice. “One Of The Drunks” might have a demure beginning, but it crescendos into an EDM-jazz crossover with its brass flourishes.
The album gets more interesting with the inclusion of a marching band and a bit of gospel on “The Overpass,” a melting pot of influences. On motivational track “High Hopes,” Urie brings back the trumpet and switches between his well-worn yell and slower vocal delivery.
On single “Say Amen (Saturday Night),” which embraces Panic! at the Disco’s inner angsty teen, Urie pays tribute to the man who gave his band its big break, Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy. Toward the end of the weekend anthem, Urie even exhibits some vocal finesse, singing in a high-pitched falsetto. With the newest addition to his catalog, he shows growth as a songwriter and an arranger.
Follow writer Vic Silva at Twitter.com/VicSilvaaaa.