Feature: Pei – Honest
Pei [pron. pay] – a Fijian word for baby – is a homecoming, a returning to the roots and to the ground from whence Malani came. A founding member of ARIA Award-winning indie-rock five-piece Gang Of Youths, Malani returned to Sydney from London in 2019 beggining work on Pei.
Throughout the Pei project, Malani elucidates his identity as a Fijian-Australian, gracefully weaving contemporary indie, pop and rock influences within memories of Fiji and overtures to Fijian culture.
Honest overflows with a creativity that was once dormant but has now grown irrepressible, and hums with the quiet, matured confidence of finding your own place in the world.
Restless and caught in a near-constant state of tinkering with itself, ‘Honest’ overflows with a creativity that was once dormant but has now grown irrepressible, and hums with the quiet, matured confidence of finding your own place in the world.
While the constant is Malani’s vocals, mesmeric in their warmth and direct delivery, and a bucolic combination of plucked guitar, banjo and whistling, grainy percussion and string sections – transforming from swelling ambience to a chugging turbine – inject ceaseless vitality into the mix. Around this backbone, notes of distorted electric guitar, pitched-down vocals and mercurial, warping samples corrode the edges, eating away at ‘Honest’s pastoral centre.
Of his debut Pei single, Malani shares that “It’s hard to be honest about what we’re going through and how much it affects us. It’s not even the big stuff. Losing a job or the end of a relationship can distable us in ways we don’t expect and sometimes we’re too embarrassed to admit it and subdue the feeling. But it manifests itself in other areas of your life and you can turn to things and become unrecognisable to those around you all for the sake of filling that void. I had two friends who were going through hardship but couldn’t be upfront with how it was affecting them. It was painful to watch them struggle and turn to things that you hadn’t seen them do before. We have all been there and this song is about relating to being in that spot and being real with each other. Because that’s a big part of friendship.“
Pei’s debut single Honest is available NOW via Broth Records.