Fifth Hour Hero - Scattered Sentences (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Fifth Hour Hero

Scattered Sentences (2003)

No Idea

Fifth Hour Hero was on the fringe of my list of bands to follow up on for a good while now. One exhilarating live performance later and I'm well on my way to becoming a fanatic. This band has a very genuine enthusiasm that's both refreshing and endearing.

Fifth Hour Hero is a Quebec City based four-piece that's made a number of releases on regional indies and after extensive touring has hooked up with Florida's No Idea Records. Their music can be described in terms of the Gainesville melodic-hardcore sound through a different cultural lens, with duelling male/female vocals that call to mind Rainer Maria. I've read reviews that make comparisons between Fifth Hour Hero and the sadly defunct Discount and they're certainly well founded.

While the rhythm section of the band has shifted in the past few years, the core of Olivier Maguire and Geneviève Tremblay remains intact. There is indeed a sense of history here, as the band seems quite tight and comfortable with their sound. Much like the early Hot Water Music records, Scattered Sentences has an engaging layered guitar sound that's busy without being needlessly dense and muddy. Tracks like the standout "Cut Me Dead" as well as "Dancing On Your Knees," "At The Borders," and "Goodbye All Regrets" are all great examples of the band's range and skill.

There's a political bent to many of the lyrics on Scattered Sentences but the band is literate enough to write with subtlety and cleverness. The media critique "Right Hand Armed" is a good example of how Fifth Hour Hero avoids the trap other punk bands fall into by over-simplifying their subject matter. Their approach to their topics isn't one of anger or blind rage, rather a sense of alienation and awareness. In this respect they fit in rather well thematically with many of their new labelmates.

This is an honest, literate punk rock record and one of this year's finest. Do yourself a favour and catch Fifth Hour Hero's live show, as these songs sound all the more passionate and fun in a live setting.