After the travesty that was "Pretty Odd", and the departure of half the band, I thought Panic were done for. I only bought this album because I was assured by my best friend that it was more like "A Fever You Can't Sweat Out" than their last offering, and I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. But this album was an incredibly pleasant surprise, and took me aback if I am to be honest. Whilst "A Fever You Can't Sweat Out" was a more of an eccentric, surreal, and young/fun record, "Vices and Virtues" appears to be a kind of grown up attempt of Panic's début; still quirky, but more mature. Even so, it oozes the charm and grace that is so great about Panic! records.
There is abundance of well thought out, interesting and very memorable songs here. After trying to name which ones on the album I would recommend as favourites, I came to the realisation of how good an album this is. But, if you only have time to listen to a song or two then I would recommend "Ballard Of Mona Lisa", "Let's Kill Tonight", "Memories", or "Sarah Smiles". To be perfectly honest though, there isn't a single weak song on this album, and I would suggest listening to the whole thing. Which is a real testament to Brendon Urie & Spencer Smith's writing skills, as well as some very solid production from John Feldmann & Butch Walker, as I find it incredibly rare that I would want to recommend every song on a single album.
So overall, a seriously good album. If you were let down by "Pretty Odd", I can promise that this will make it up to you. Despite losing half their band, and an (alleged) initial lack of confidence in their ability to pull this album off, Panic At The Disco have shown they are still a thoroughly competent and original contender in making alternative, interesting, thoughtful and engaging music. And due to the music industry being locked in a state of churning out stale and repetitive nonsense, it is a very welcome return for them indeed.