The state of pop-punk/emo in 2005: it's hip to be self-aware. "Dear studio audience," Panic! at the Disco vocalist Brendon Urie quavers in "The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage." "I've an announcement to make/It seems the artists these days are not who you think." He goes on to shout out, "Applause! applause!" His lyrics also say he's the narrator, but that's for debate, because later on A Fever You Can't Sweat Out Urie hoots about meeting the press and his band being a "wet dream for the webzines," so who's worrying about stardom now, the narrator or Panic! at the Disco? With Fever it's clear that the MySpace revolution has come full circle -- no longer just a convenient promotional tool, the site is now something to sing about. Writing music that webzines actually want to cover should be more important that assuming they will and then obsessing over it. But bands like Panic! at the Disco don't see that. On Fever they fill the gaps between their formulaic guitars and warbling urgency (interchangeable groups include the Academy Is... and Fall Out Boy) with painstakingly layered vocals, trumpet, vocoder, and weird breakdowns of rickety piano or synths. This is a band in love with making a record -- making a statement -- but there's nothing unique inside, neither in their formula nor the vaunted and sticky production. Panic! at the Disco's name doesn't even ring true -- the guitars, keyboards, and bittersweet vocals of the Panic Division ring close enough to cause real identity problems.
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AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus