Brendan Urie

Brendan Urie returns with first Panic! At The Disco album since 2018’s “Pray For The Wicked.”

For all intents and purposes, the band that we used to know and listen to in the mid-aughts is no more. Panic! have been a solo vehicle for singer Brenan Urie since 2015. Which is really saying something for the fact that he was able to keep moving forward on his own and even up to this point, keep the momentum going with a new album.

Opening with the lively title track “Viva Las Vengeance,” Urie gives a nod to original punk OG’s with those clanging chords that’s reminiscent of The Clash (“Career Opportunities”). But everything else that follows is the pop imbued punk and rock stylings that we’ve long heard from Urie.

Urie/Panic! again makes another nod to The Clash on the intro of “Middle Of A Breakup” but the rest is emo-pop as Urie intones the hook line “make-up sex in the middle of a breakup” in that high register vocals of his.

More retro sounds ensue in “Don’t Let The Lights Go Out” as we’re reminded of mid 70’s pop balladry (a’la ABBA and Elton John). And yeah, Urie’s really pushing his vocals as he sings “who’s going to drive me tonight / who’s going to argue til they win the fight? / you’re the only one who knows how to operate my heavy machinery.”

Urie/Panic! borrows heavily from Thin Lizzy (“Boys Are Back In Town”) on how he approaches the verses for “Star Spangled Banger” as he sings about his younger days, perhaps when playing in a band was still just a dream. Here Urie intones, “We are the electric angels / we are the six-string queens / we are the new Dead Kennedys / in the land of the brave / home of the freaks.”

Panic at the disco Brendan Urie official album art

On “God Killed Rock And Roll,” Brendan Urie looks to Queen for song’s inspirations. Check out the piano work that seems to play off and bend on “Bohemian Rhapsody” even as the guitar solo is Brian May-inspired. The title itself is also an echo of the old (British rock band) Ardent song “God Gave Rock And Roll To You” that was later popularized by a cover from KISS.

Other obvious “tributes” on the new Panic! record is “Say It Louder” which recalls The Police’s “Roxanne,” The Beatles “The End” on “Sugar Soaker,” and Queen on “Something About Maggie.” 

Which is not to say that Urie lifted directly, only tweaking your ears enough to get you asking, ‘where have I heard that one before?’ And then going his merry way without actually infringing on these greats. But yes, Brendan Urie nicks from the best.   

And yes, they’re a lark to listen to as well. 

There are many, But Brendan Urie’s best line on “Viva Las Vengeance” is from “All By Yourself” – a song about choosing to be different from the—where he sings “three minutes thirty seconds of a rock and roll record is all you need to know, live forever in a day.” 

Brendan Urie was said to have recorded on an 8-track tape machine to capture a retro vibe for “Viva Las Vengeance.” Which we’ll agree that Urie was able to achieve. Producer-songwriters Jake Sinclair, Mike Viola and Butch Walker.  

“Viva Las Vengeance” by Panic! At The Disco, under the Fueled by Ramen label, was released by Warner Music last Aug. 19.   

Source: Manila Bulletin (