Manny on a Mission is the longtime project of Canadian artist Kyle Mallouk. He’s been writing music since he was fifteen and founded Manny on a Mission in 2005 while he was in high school. In the years since he’s performed all over the greater Toronto area, refining his indie-rock sound.
“It is so important to me to write albums with clear narratives. I like to tell a story from beginning to end with every album I write.” – Kyle Mallouk
His most recently released project is a 13 track, self-titled album. This work is entirely composed of previously written Manny on a Mission tracks, bringing new life and vision to these older songs. His honest and emphatic musical style is on clear display alongside his definitive storytelling abilities.
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
The album opens with Creeper, and it’s vibrant from the very first measure. The bright, rapid-fire rhythm from the electric guitar really sets the tone for the track, and that sort of liveliness can be found elsewhere across the album regularly. The harmonies in the chorus are particularly tight and really elevate the already catchy hook.
Exposed has a particularly fun guitar riff that almost has an Americana feel. But this is definitively indie rock with a touch of pop-punk influence, and the energy here is infectious, foot-stomping goodness. The harmonies in the chorus are again a highlight – Mallouk really seems to have a knack for finding stand-out harmonic phrasings to complement his melodies.
There’s a great example of Mallouk’s ability to craft great characters in his songs in Hollow – the story of boy meets girl in a seedy bar, and she changes everything. It’s an earnest yet still tender love song that’s executed in classic alt-indie-rock style. He describes her effect on him in detail:
“Every curve on her body invites me in and they give me suggestions on where to begin”
It maintains a great balance of relatable storytelling combined with enough character development to really let the listener sink into the plot.
The production choices on Take Me Home stand out, with a really great mix of acoustic guitar over a full backing band to give some substance to this track that starts on a mellower note. The simple, memorable hook here makes it the kind of song you can sing along to after only hearing the first chorus once. And the persistent drumbeat is reminiscent of marching footsteps, driving the speaker home one step at a time.
The album closes with When I Grow Up, which feels like a very personal retelling of Mallouk’s desire to conquer his demons. The song largely features simple vocals and guitar, putting the lyrics at the front and center of this track, until the dramatic build begins in the last minute and a half of the track. Drums, strings, bass, more guitar, and backing vocals are slowly added into a repetition of the refrain for a heartfelt, orchestral finish to this project.
OUR FAVORITE TRACK…
We get another glimpse of the softer side of Mallouk in All Through The Night – the forward acoustic guitar once again is a great complement to the story being told in this song. This truly puts his great harmony writing and storytelling skills on display. The lyrics are a powerful, emotional trip through a relationship where the speaker feels undeserving of the love he’s receiving, stating:
“You whisper that we’ll be alright. But if you don’t get out now I’ll burn down your whole life.“
The cherry on top is the stripped-down section at 2:48, where all of the emotion that builds throughout this track is condensed into a few powerful, vulnerable lines. As much as we thoroughly enjoy the more uptempo numbers on this record and the other ballads as well, All Through The Night is perhaps the best example of the artistic range that Mallouk is capable of commanding.
Relatable, emotional storytelling, memorable melodies, harmonies to match, and a definitive handle on a modern indie rock sound – there’s so much to love about what Kyle Mallouk is doing with Manny on a Mission. Mallouk has said that he feels this album represents his complete body of work, and we can see why – this project puts the spotlight on all of his strengths as an artist. It contains a great range of tracks that – despite having their own unique flair – feel like they’d be at home in any playlist with today’s top alternative and indie rockers. If that sounds like it’s up your alley, you owe it to yourself to give Manny on a Mission a listen.
BELOW: Check out our full artist interview with Manny on a Mission, listen to his album, and connect with his website and social media platforms. Please support Manny on a Mission by visiting him online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
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