You don’t have to worry, ’cause we’re still the same band,” sings PATD frontman Brendon Urie in tune with a chiming electric guitar on “We’re So Starving,” the opening track of the band’s new disc, Pretty. Odd. The line is both a joke and a fitting introduction to an album that finds the Las Vegas–based outfit trying to outgrow their emo origins.
“The funniest part to me is that Jon Walker, our bassist, sings along with that line, and he wasn’t even in the band last time,” says guitarist Ryan Ross of Walker, who replaced original member Brent Wilson in 2006. “That whole song is just very lighthearted and fun.”
Lighthearted? Fun? Not the adjectives we would use to describe PATD’s debut, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, which rode theatrical, tortured tales of manipulative girlfriends and the men who love them to platinum status. But PATD are no longer the melodramatic 17- and 18-year-olds who made Fever. “I’ve noticed that things aren’t bad all the time,” says Ross, now 21. “So I’ve tried to write songs that people will want to hear when they’re getting off work rather than something that’s going to bring them down.”
To that end the band focused on capturing a loose, classic-rock vibe, drawing influence from a newfound embrace of the Beach Boys, the Beatles, the Stones, the Kinks, and Bob Dylan. How that will work out isn’t entirely clear, since tracks were still being mixed at press time. “I think it sounds a little more real and human than our last album,” offers Ross. “Fever was good for how young we were, but for me it’s kind of like a yearbook picture. You look at it like, ‘Oh, man, that’s the suit I was wearing?’ This album will surprise people, ’cause if we weren’t surprising people, there’s no real point in listening.”