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Five Eight

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Album Review

Athens-based trio Five Eight have been around, sporadically, since 1989, but their self-released and self-titled sixth album has the spunk of a new band's debut. It's easy to imagine singer/songwriter Mike Mantione, a diagnosed manic depressive, sitting through yet another album of nothing-new mewling from yet another sad lil' emo band and thinking "You wanna see emotional torment? Watch THIS!" before writing the fairly horrific "Criminal," a presumably fictional tale of living with guilt after causing a friend's death through drunk driving. After that cathartic opening salvo, however, Five Eight dial back a bit on Mantione's usual angst to create a somewhat more hopeful set of tunes that traffic more in wry ruefulness and clear-eyed self-appraisal than outright anger and whining. Even better, the trio's clean, precise arrangements avoid the sludge trap that ensnares so many similar bands, and they're clearly able to handle tempos above the traditional snail's pace. If this was Five Eight's first album — and it seems that Mantione intends it to be a fresh start — then it would be the sort of debut that makes listeners look forward to what's coming next.

Biography

Formed: Athens, GA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Athens, GA emo unit Five Eight was the vehicle of singer/guitarist Mike Mantione, a self-professed manic depressive whose music exorcised his personal demons in grim detail. Debuting in 1989 with the self-released Passive-Aggressive cassette, the band -- which also comprised longtime bassist Dan Horowitz, guitarist Sean Dunn and drummer Patrick '"Tigger'" Ferguson -- resurfaced two years later with Inflatable Sense of Self. Signing to the Sky label, in 1992 Five Eight issued their first full-length...
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Five Eight, Five Eight
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