So I was in Kingston by 9:50, at which point the sky turned grey and it snowed on me. SNOW! At the end of March?! What merry hell is this?! I was almost compelled to run through the streets yelling "Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas to one and all!" in a cockney accent, but wisely decided against it.
After a quick coffee, I headed to HMV where I nabbed a copy of Pretty. Odd. off the shelf. And by nabbed I don't mean stole. In fact, I had a curious moment while paying for it; I had been listening to music on my iPhone, and the dude at the till recognised that I had an iPhone by the little mic attachment on the headphone cable.
"Good, innit?" He said while I handed over the cash.
"Yeah," I replied. "You got one?"
"Yeah, got it the day it came out," he said.
We bantered a little bit more, bonding over iPhones before I realised I was holding up the queue, so I decided to head off. "See ya later," we both said, like we were going to meet up later and continue chatting about the über-phone. Which we are not.
After a picking up a few more bits in some other shops (again, by 'picking up' I do not mean I shoplifted them) I headed back to the car, where I slipped Pretty. Odd. into the stereo, listening to it on the way home, then listening to it again when I got home. In fact, my iTunes tells me I've listened to it four times now, so I figure I'm Pretty. Well. (ha, like what I did there?) placed to give my opinion on it.
And I can totally see why Panic at the Disco dropped the exclamation mark from their name. This album is a lot different to their debut - less frantic, and dare I say it, less immediate too.
But I don't think that's a bad thing at all. In fact, I think it's incredibly brave of them to do what amounts to a handbrake turn in style, because this is a lot different to what they've done before, and I think it's a real grower that will reward multiple listens. Their musicianship has improved vastly, and they've ditched their emo-trappings for a sound that pays homage to everything from bluegrass, to Sgt. Peppers, to mid-seventies rock like you'd hear in Smokey and the Bandit. They could've whacked a sticker on the CD case saying 'Panic at the Disco: now 100% emo free!'
I like it. A lot. But I think there might be a fair few Panic fans out there who were hoping for a literal rerun of A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, and they're going to be scrunching up their little emo faces in shock and self-harming in response to what they're getting here. I think Pretty. Odd. might just lose Panic as many fans as it makes them new ones. It's going to be interesting to see exactly how this album is received…