As Panic At The Disco discovered, no trip to London, England, was complete without a stop by the iconic Abbey Road recording studios where The Beatles made most of their classic recordings.
While they enjoyed a walk across that iconic crosswalk immortalized on the Fab Four’s 1969 album cover, the Las Vegas rockers also happened to be at Abbey Road on business — to mix and add orchestral flourishes to sophomore release, Pretty. Odd.
“We recorded the strings and the horns there just because that studio is known as the best place for the type of sound we were looking for,” says drummer Spencer Smith. “It was all an amazing experience, being in the same studios where some of the records we love the best were made.”
Months later, Smith, guitarist Ryan Ross, bassist Jon Walker and vocalist Brendon Urie got a chance to perform in the building’s Studio 1 as part of a TV special, Live From Abbey Road.
The band isn’t shy about channelling its British influences. The mix of upbeat pop, folk, vaudeville and psychedelia echo the likes of Queen, The Kinks and The Beatles, the latter noticeably evident on the Sgt. Pepper-style opening of We’re So Starving and Nine In The Afternoon.
“These are basically songs about us being in a band, being excited about writing new songs and working on new material and not only being known for the 14 songs we wrote when we were 17-years-old,” Smith says.
Smith acknowledges that Pretty. Odd. proffers a significant shift away from the angsty, emo-punk stylings of the group’s 2005 debut, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out.
“When you’re 16 or 17, you don’t really want listen to the music your parents listened to — it isn’t cool,” he says. “Years later, we ended up realizing why a lot of those older songs were so good and more interesting to hear than what’s currently on the radio.”
Does that shift explain why there’s no longer an exclamation mark as part of the Panic name?
“When we were making the artwork and cover for this album, the artist was like, ‘Do you guys want the exclamation point?’ and we ended up deciding, ‘Nah, let’s take it out.’”