With a name for the record books (said to be the average height of American males), a hometown that couldn’t have hurt and a finely honed screamer-guitarist, Athen, Georgia’s Five-Eight planted itself in the center of all that was groovy in what was then called Alternative Rock. Mike Mantione, the aforementioned singer-instrumentalists (who’s 5-7, by the way), has a couple of things going for him: A voice that fills with emotion, to the point of splitting at the seams; and a guitar that often stumbles — actually stumbles — toward the divine. Well, there’s also The Mention. Five-Eight was one of the first local bands that Peter Buck, guitarist with You Know Who, said was “worth hearing.” The good part? He was right: “From “She’s Dropping the Bomb” to “Suit of Sin,” Mantione doesn’t shy from the friendless topics of suicide, raging and otherwise insidious madness — oh, and the love of trashy women. As far as rock ‘n’ roll goes, the lyrics are air-tight. And praise the Lord, most don’t rhyme. Add some destructive guitar work and the far-from-seamless bass thump and drum bash of Dan Horowitz and Patrick Ferguson, and it’s on to ragged glory.
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