Italian lo-fi duo Malihini wanted space from the outside world to make their debut album. Writing in Sicily and recording in the quiet of Mid Wales, real-life couple Giampaolo Speziale and Federica Caiozzo must have found it. ‘Hopefully, Again’ is thoughtfully refined pop marked by delicate exchanges and less-is-more instrumentation. ‘A House on A Boat’ sets off at a paranoid pace, before the LP’s title track mellows proceedings with a lazy sundrenched riff. Sensing that “love is coming back, hopefully again”, Caiozzo and Speziale edge closer to embracing each other – yet remain fearful of vulnerability as uneasy synths loom in the background.
Five songs under the three-minute mark underline the duo’s songwriting strengths. ‘Nefertiti’ retreats the moment it starts to feel claustrophobic, while the clear influence of Tame Impala is coupled with an ’80s airiness on the waltzing ‘Giving Up On Me’. Malihini experiment on the chorus of ‘Can’t Stand That’, their voices wandering in search of answers over shimmering keys. The track feels like an intriguing exploration of contemporary indie, particularly when compared to the more formulaic ‘Delusional Boy’.
Songs on the album are rarely cluttered with instruments. ‘If U Call’ is helped along by reverberating, trumpet-like synths that make room for both narrators to share their insecurities, while lightly brushed chords ease ‘Song #1’ into life. ‘Hopefully, Again’ may meander in its final third, but Malihini still succeed in adapting their personal story into a touching and uniquely conversational album.