( USA TODAY )- No need to panic! Las Vegas quartet Panic at the Disco may have pulled the exclamation point from its name, but it hasn't pulled the plug on fun and frivolity. The extraneous punctuation and Goth guyliner (also gone) were gimmicks only a minority of the teen base will miss.
Not that Panic has sworn off stunts. The band's second effort, Pretty.Odd . (* * * out of four) kidnaps Sgt. Pepper and ransacks the Lennon/McCartney songbook. It's a brazen move that scores points for nerve, ambition and even success, though not to a degree rivaling the brilliance of The Beatles.
This foursome is more flab than fab , piling on excessive strings, horns, sound effects, choruses, pop-operatic flourishes and overdubs. Still, from the We're So Starving overture to the brassy Mad as Rabbits, the music is unrelentingly upbeat, melodic and punchy. Very pretty and lovably odd, Pretty.Odd can also be cheeky and twee , suggesting a second bite at this particular apple could push Panic at the Disco into a Rutles rut. - Edna Gundersen