by Paddy Kinsella
Since emerging as a solo artist last year, S. T. Manville has sought to echo simple yet profound sentiments – enlisting pride and acceptance in his listenership. Former single, Little Victories, was a celebration of our tiny day-to-day achievements, which culminated in Manville taking to the road with a camera and a trophy in tow, picturing friends and fans with the trophy aloft as they celebrated hanging their washing out or the like. Manville compiled them in a book that feels more relevant than ever now that those daily rituals dominate our restricted existence.
With new single, Best I Can Do, Manville shoots for acceptance and a silencing of the inner voice of condemnation. Though it revolves around his experience as a lone parent, as with all of Manville’s work, it is acutely universal. Blessed with a lullaby-like quality, Best I Can Do could have been initially sketched out on a ukulele, so simple is its endearing rhythm. Manville’s voice catches in his throat when he sings ‘I’m doing my best without you’. He leaves the whereabouts of his ‘you’ open to interpretation, so that you can intermingle your personal story and come down the other side of the hill together. The span of Best I Can Do stretches wider and wider, as he layers his vocal and guitar; the dead weight of condemnation shed once and for all.
Over lockdown, Manville has been interviewing and performing alongside fellow artists on his Instagram. In one of these nightly broadcasts, Manville reflected that a good song is not a good song if it does not work, stripped of all of its embellishments, on the piano or the acoustic guitar. Years of working in the music industry, writing for Biffy Clyro and many more, has fermented his belief that the secret to a good song lies in its simplicity. Best I Can Do is as good of an example as any you will find.
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