Picks and Pans Review: Panic at the Disco

UPDATED 03/31/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 03/31/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT

Pretty. Odd. |

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CRITIC'S CHOICE

PUNK-POP

Panic at the Disco opens their second album with an apology: "Oh how it's been so long/We're so sorry we've been gone/We were busy writing songs for you," frontman Brendon Urie sings on the intro "We're So Starving." Clearly, this Las Vegas quartet realizes how crucial their follow-up to 2005's platinum A Fever You Can't Sweat Out is. And Pretty. Odd. does well to assure that they won't go down as some emo dudes who got lucky thanks to the MTV hit "I Write Sins Not Tragedies." Displaying a nice sense of whimsy, they've grown beyond emo, whether it be the Beatles-esque pop of "She Had the World," the Beach Boys sunniness of "When the Day Met the Night" or the Smiths-style melancholia of "Do You Know What I'm Seeing?"

DOWNLOAD THIS: "Northern Downpour," a ballad that is power-pop bliss

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