Their name may mean ‘newcomers’ in Hawaiian, but Malihini, aka Rome-based Giampaolo Speziale and Federica Caiozzo, deal exclusively in the music of lived experience and time-honed emotional intelligence, their disarming universe never less than distinctive, yet resonating with confessional, modern European pop sophistication. Listening to the songs on Malihini’s exquisite debut longplayer, Hopefully, Again, can sometimes feel like eavesdropping on a couple’s intimate emotional dialogues, such is the honesty of the duo’s writing. Yet combined with their minimal, yet opulently textured arrangements (“classic songwriting matched with pared-down electronics”, according to Clash), crammed with subtle melodic hooks and an embarrassment of earworm choruses, they transform the personal into the universal with a delightfully unforced eloquence.

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