Island Records, get your lawyers ready.
The Chicago pop-punk scene is officially the most musically incestuous one in America. To anyone remotely outside of the target market, seemingly every band that gains recognition on a national scale sounds just like the one came before it. Even inside of the demographic, pupils are surely aware of the extreme similarities. I'm convinced Las Vegas's Panic! At the Disco secretly reside from there; signed before the band had even played their first show thanks to Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz, he apparently doesn't mind that the band in question is ripping them off so blatantly it's downright laughable. The lead singer does his best Patrick Stump impression the entire record; the whole course of the record I have this mental image of the dude in the studio doing his best to match Stump's inflection note for note -- succeeding no less, but an amazingly direct bite regardless with his voice consistently raped with Autotune song in and out. Most of the track titles are long and/or aggrandizing (see: "There's a Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven't Thought of it Yet"). It lyrically sounds like it came straight from FOB's pens.
Despite some seemingly random implementation of keyboards, synthesizers, and late in the record, "vaudevillian" piano, there isn't quite the dance element the band strives for; instead, it's just an annoying theme. With the vibe they're going for, the next band in line that could be compared to the record is the Academy Is..., and, my opinions of TAI aside, doesn't say much for originality or inspiration.
Here's the most ridiculous chorus of them all:
Well we're just a wet dream for the webzines / make us it make us hip make us scene / or shrug us off your shoulders / don't approve a single word we wroteHey guys, aren't you supposed to sort of, you know, have a record already released before you can bitch about the critics? Or is it because you know how badly you're aping Fall Out Boy with some lame gimmick to try and cover it up that you know the surefire onslaught of shit you're bound to get? Oh, wait, I guess I answered that question. Either way, congratulations on writing either the most arrogant or self-effacing couplet in music.
Being catchy is a quality that can only be stretched so far, and Panic! At the Disco doesn't seem to mind that their obnoxious, terribly unoriginal debut only has that one quality going for it. Putting out an album at the same time as something that sounds exactly like one of, if not the most popular band(s) going is just completely integrity void. A Fever You Can't Sweat Out is one of the most soul-deprived, emotionless records I've heard in a long, long time.
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