"It’s time to cast aside all the high-octane, shit-ripping offerings and show you a softer side. A tenderness, if you will. The pensive reflection of a long day/week/month/year/life does not always mix well with music cranked to eleven. Enter Toui Manikhouth. Melancholy? Yes. Sad? Well, yes; but it’s the good kind of sad.
Sad songs used to be fine to listen to, until the outbreak of emo (and along with it, emo bashing). Songs like these are sometimes swept up into the ambiguous zone. Rest assured, this is not emo.
The guitar is bright and warm, played with accuracy as well as a soft touch. Soothing with layers of woodwinds and multiple guitars, This Service is ideal for relaxing. The mellow instrumentation puts you at ease, even if it’s not for long.
Clocking in at under five hundred seconds, you might have to give this EP several dozen listens just to pick up all the subtleties.
The lyrics and vocals feel like they’re being dragged down. It’s not an unfamiliar aesthetic for listeners of City and Colour, Sufjan Stevens, et al. It’s the word of yearning. “I try to remember that all of the other ones, I’ve sent them home.” Abandoned and abandoning. The emotion runs deep through these songs. Short without feeling brief or abrupt, this EP gets in and gets out like a thief in the night; taking with it your heart as well as your yearning for soft, sweet, moody music.
This album gets a nine, folks. It’s succinct and well-produced. Simple in its intricacies (screw you, ’cause that IS possible) and tender throughout. I would highly recommend This Service to anyone who has a spot in their heart for the sad songs. The good ones that don’t come part and parcel with a scene and a fashion. Now go, listen, and have yourself a good long cry."
- Bucketlist Music Reviews
"Singer-songwriter Toui Manikhouth is an artist whose sound is as bare and sparse as his web-presence. Online he is a ghost ... and recorded his sound is a combination of low whispers and the soft picking of an acoustic guitar. In pitch and cadence his vocals strongly recall the heartweary opining of Elliott Smith, though there are moments on his This Service EP that sound far more hopeful than most of Smith’s catalog.
The three tracks ... were carved out in his home in Ontario, Canada and reflect different facets of one melancholy gem. The tired longing of the title track leads into the morose, plaintive crooning on “Other Ones,” and these two contrast with the serene, contented exhaustion of “Flowers for Zara.” With work this touching, here’s to hoping the artist doesn’t remain so anonymous for long."
- Eric A, ALL THINGS GO
"I wish I had more to tell you about Toui Manikhouth than he’s a Hamilton, ON-based singer songwriter that’s released a three-song introductory EP called This Service well worth the time and effort to go and search out. His story is fairly typical: Manikhouth recorded the songs over a year in his own home, with a focus on keeping things “raw and minimal”, a goal he succeeds in.
But that’s where “typical” ends, and adjectives like “unique”, “intriguing” and “poignant” begin. ”This Service” and “Other Ones” are particularly haunting tracks, while gently strummed closer “Flowers In Zara” will make a wonderful edition to the soundtrack for Sex After Kids, a feature film that’s set for release in February 2014..."
- Jim Di Gioia, QUICK BEFORE IT MELTS
released December 13, 2013
All songs written and performed by Toui Manikhouth.
Titan Sounds Music 2013
all rights reserved