Sound — 8
As the band's first album since the departure of guitarist Ryan Ross and bassist Jon Walker due to artistic contrasts, it's no small surprise that their new album, Vices & Virtues took a different direction than their last. The Beatles-esque arrangements from the bands sophomore album are more or less non-existent on this release. In their stead are a mash-up of several musical styles equating to what most would call theatrical pop-rock. They've basically gone back to the style of their debut release, and kept a little bit of the flamboyance and flair from their second album. Possibly the most impressive thing about the album is the production. There are several layers of sound in many of the tracks, including rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass, synth, drums, orchestra, etc, and you can hear everything very well. While the instrumentals might not sound technically impressive, that's not what the album is going for. If you're looking for something fun to listen to, and you're into pop, pop-rock, or lighthearted music in general, it's likely you'll enjoy this album.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics are fun and fulfill their purpose. They don't seem quite as imaginative as those found on their previous album, but they're easier to relate to and more practical. Overall, the lyrics generate feelings of love, lust, and a bit of regret. Lines like "I led the revolution in my bedroom", might come off as cheesy to most, but lines like that are few and far between. As for the singing itself, as usual, Brendan Urie's vocals are superb. Even with a few cheesy lines, he manages to sell it all quite convincingly. The album's last track references the first track, which is nice. It gives the album an almost "everything coming full circle" feel. It may not sound like a big deal, but it makes this feel more like an album as opposed to a collection of songs.
Overall Impression — 8
If you're a casual listener, and you like fun, lighthearted tunes you'll almost definitely enjoy something that this album has to offer. You should definitely give it a chance. The fact that the band didn't shatter under the pressure of two members leaving, and they managed to release a solid album is wonderful. The only issue I have is the fact that it's under 40 minutes long. That's a bit too short for my liking. However, it should be noted that with the bonus tracks, the album is about 55 minutes long. Key tracks include Sarah Smiles, Trade Mistakes, and Always. I hope this review was helpful. This is my first, and I wanted to review something no one else had reviewed yet. If you have any criticisms or advice, please comment. Thanks in advance.