5 Go Mad

Around the same time the Leftovers LP fell into my palms came the most recent offering from those South Coast-based 3rd Wave Punks 5 Go Mad. At one time the hardest working Punk band on the South Coast, they have had some lean times of late. Drummer Wozza left to seek pastures new while original guitarist Brian sadly went to Punk Rock Heaven, but not before foisting these ten belters upon us.

“PMQ’s” is exactly what it says on the tin – a ferocious onslaught about Prime Ministers Questions. From the 90mph drum ferocity of Wozza, and the clever edit at the start comes Alan’s angry, vocal retorts. This is classic 3rd Wave angsty, political Punk at it’s finest – a throwback to the early 80’s even. There’s no let-up throughout. Seemingly no bridge, no stop/starts and no bullshit. It ends as it begins with the borrowed edit “order, order”. “Banjo String” follows next which is quite a departure. I’m guessing a truthful tale (as all their songs seem to stem from personal experiences – whoever this was written about, you have my deepest sympathy)! With more heavy snare bashing from Wozza and some anthemic vocal layering in the chorus. One or two noodly moments from Andy (rhythm guitar) pepper this comedic little number.

“Frotter” has an American HCX intro before making way for more anthemic vocalising. A cautionary tale about male punters getting too up close and personal at gigs, yeah we’ve all seen them. Once again it’s back up to 5GM speed, which it needs to be at well under two minutes. It’s another 3rd wave classic that pulls no punches and doesn’t lack any power or intensity. “Syd Mankini” is the standout track on here, from the opening chants of “Syd, Syd, Syd Mankini…” Wozza’s drums again keep the beat and the lyrics are about a ‘celebrity fan’ who was becoming a staple at their gigs, and so renowned for his attire they wrote a song about him! “All the girls love him, they think he’s dreamy, Syd, Syd, Syd Mankini”; they don’t write ’em like that anymore, and the ending is sharp.

“Madness” is not about those Nutty Boys, it’s more the perils of mental health. The highs, the lows, the feelings of loneliness etc. Both the drums and verses seem to have got faster (if that is possible). The vocals are delivered with the energy of someone feeling hyper, with an untamed honesty.

“Demagogue” pales it back somewhat with a fuzzy guitar intro and a lyrical content about World leaders and their policies, snaring the public at large to vote for them then await the consequences. Snare-heavy with anthemic moments and a gravelly main vocal, it’s a subject matter we all know only too well. The scratchy guitars match a heavy bass from Weeze (bass) but there’s that anger in the vocal delivery that just simmers in the background.

5 Go Mad

“Great Balls On Fire” again employs an American HCX influence and up’s the power once more. If the title is to be believed then this is a cautionary tale about not setting one’s balls alight! Why anyone should even consider attempting an act so dangerous is curious in itself but hey, one has to procure a lyric from somewhere?! The bass throbs in the bridge to the driving beat of the drum, with it’s borderline Burundi beat. And the “aaargh’s” in the chorus and at the end would suggest this tale might just be true. “Friend Of The Stars” is the usual tongue in cheek song we have learned to expect from 5GM. The chorus “I’m Full Of Shit, don’t we know it” will be a winner in the live arena no doubt. Heavier snare thrashing and a thudding bass in the background compliment the now comedic vocals as they become more urgent and intense right up to its conclusion. We all know that ‘Friend of the Stars’, we’ve all met him. The bull shitter in the room, he’s seen it, done it and bought the band T-shirt (twice).

“Politician” begins slower but bursts into life. It’s an angry lament to our Politicians about life on the other side. The guitars briefly remind me of UK Subs but Wozza’s hitting again is the main feature, with heavy cymbal bashing in parts. There’s no bridge in the song, just a straight verse, chorus, verse, chorus dialogue of anti-government vitriol. This ain’t no Anarcho/Punk re-hash, this is 21st Century angst.

“Shit Town Rat” is written about none other than a certain lead singer of a famous New Wave band. It’s the perfect album closer. Once again it pulls no punches and the hatred is unswerving. Ok so it’s Sir Bob Geldof, but after a verbal onslaught he gave out at Rebellion Festival a few years back he lost the little credibility he may have still had. The obituary was ready to be written that very evening! Heavy snare (again) and anthemic, layered vocals while the edit to close the song is simply perfect, as he himself says “complete load of bollocks”!

With a band putting in the hard yards as these guys did I can only hope they find that elusive missing member to don the drum stool and return rightfully to where they were in the scene. Two consecutive Rebellion appearances and stalwarts of the South Coast Live scene, not to mention regulars on the “Abuse Your Confusion” tours it would be such a waste to not even at least attempt to return to the level they were at. While this is a slightly more political album than its predecessors it retains the 5 Go Mad humour that has always peppered their songs. There was talk of a covers album in the pipeline before the members started going their separate ways. Having seen 5GM in the early days I know what to expect if this ever comes to fruition. I wish them well but I genuinely hope they don’t throw in the towel just yet.

Track Listing
Banjo String
Syd Mankini
Great Balls on Fire
Shit Town Rat

Band Members
Alan – VOX
Matt – LEAD
Weeze – BASS
Wozza – DRUMS


Review by Ross a. Ferrone.