Lo-fi pop duo Malihini, aka Rome-based couple Giampaolo Speziale and Federica Caiozzo, have unveiled their new track ‘Delusional Boy’. Taken from their forthcoming debut album ‘Hopefully, Again’ – out 8th March through Memphis Industries.
The single is the follow up to the title track which recently featured on Lauren Laverne‘s 6 Music show. Produced by Richard Formby ‘Hopefully, Again’ was written in Sicily and recorded at the remote Giant Wafer Studios, Wales. It was subsequently mixed by Ewan Pearson.
Malihini, which means ‘newcomers’ in Hawaiian, deal exclusively in the music of lived experience and time-honed emotional intelligence, their disarming musical universe never less than distinctive, yet resonating with a confessional, modern European pop sophistication of a kind elsewhere purveyed by the likes of Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jose Gonzalez and Our Broken Garden.
Listening to the ten co-written songs that grace Malihini’s exquisite debut ‘Hopefully, Again’, can sometimes feel like eavesdropping on a couple’s intimate emotional dialogues, such is the ingenuous honesty of the duo’s writing. Yet combined with their minimal, yet opulently textured arrangements crammed with subtle melodic hooks and an embarrassment of earworm choruses, they transform the personal into the universal with a delightfully unforced eloquence.
Talking about what inspires Malihini to create their songs and how they go about it, the duo explain: “Some of the songs definitely take inspiration from personal events in our life, but sometimes I imagine things from someone else’s perspective” says Speziale “We always wanted to have just a few instruments and we write using only a guitar, a Casiotone keyboard, a toy synth and a drum machine. We’d start with loops and then just improvise melodies over the top, not listening back for three or four hours – the lyrics would come later.”
“We recorded a lot of the vocals alone together in our room at the studio, and I think that adds another layer of intimacy. We sometimes go to separate rooms to actually write the words, then we come together and see how we really feel about each other! It’s a good way to talk about problems as a couple without needing to go to a psychiatrist!” elaborates Caiozzo.
Whether the songs work as de facto relationship counselling or not, they remain consistently intriguing and irrefutably alluring, always navigating deftly between emotional light and shade. The soulful, superficially pretty title track is a case in point: its languid drums and woozy electric guitar hook-line ushering in a sort of conversation between circling lovers – Caiozzo taking the first verse, Speziale the second, the two combining for the redemptive and addictive “Love is coming back” chorus line.
“It’s about when you’re first really into one another”, explains Speziale “When you try to be someone, as seen through the eyes of the other.” Likewise, the ensuing ‘Delusional Boy’, with its sunlit, glass-half-full fantasy optimism capturing a “mind-escaping feeling”, according to Caiozzo, upbeat drums and almost African guitar figure, is neatly undercut by its recurring vocal refrain, “Delusional Boy/Delusional Girl” – the downbeat rejoinder conveyed with a typically euphonious duo vocal melody.