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