Five Eight
The Good Nurse

Deep Elm Records

If you had never heard Five Eight before, you might mistakenly call this stuff "emo." But, Mike Mantione and Five Eight have been playing woe-is-me rock a long time; they started back when most of today's emo-boys were still in grade school. Ever since the opening strains of Looking Up on their official debut album I Learned Shut Up in 1992, Five Eight has been all about putting psychological distress to music.

With The Good Nurse, Mantione and Five Eight have eschewed larger-than-life rock for a more sutle, tension-filled sound. It's a disturbing, frustrated feeling that ties this album together. There is a stark absence of hooks and riffs, and standard pop structures are thrown out the window. The result is a stream-of-consciousness "concept" album that puts us in the hospital ward with Mr. Mantione and his character's manic, unbalanced mind.

A reviewer friend of mine once remarked that in order to fully appreciate Five Eight, you must see them live; the studio somehow could not capture their magic. That could still ring true today, but I think that for the first time in their long career, the band has found their muse in the confines of the four walls of a recording studio. The genius is shining through.

MISH MASH Mandate: Man Comes A Knockin' With Manic Depression

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