Pretty. Odd was a shocking musical composition, there is no doubt about that. It was dull, derivative and the complete antithesis of everything that endeared listeners to them in the first place – you wondered if PATD had lost their musical marbles. But thankfully, following the departure of Ryan Ross and Jon Walker in July 2009, ‘New Perspective’ and new single ‘The Ballad of Mona Lisa’ demonstrate that the baroque duo are back on track.
It opens with a tinkling music box that screams the worst moments of Pretty.Odd, and as a listener, alarm bells go off in your head. But as this gives way to driving drum beats and sublime vocals from Brendon Urie, you realise PATD have somewhat returned to their musical roots. On the surface, ‘The Ballad of Mona Lisa’ tells the tale of the struggle between a girl and a guy, but if you lift the clean polished lid you reveal dark and mysterious undercurrents that scream dirt, grime and dust, like the hidden aspects of the troubled self. It’s somewhere between A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, with all its the energy and catchiness, and a completely new place, with clarity, precision and razor sharp lyrics. If ‘The Ballad of Mona Lisa’ is anything to go by, listeners can expect Vices & Virtues, due for release in late March, to be an exceptionally mature and inventive record.