So there’s the expectation of trying to reach out to a wider audience and, one would assume, have the luck to deliver a record that sells well and maybe, just maybe, have a hit single. If that ambition works for most artists, not so much for Pepe and The Bandits. That’s not to say he would probably decline such dreams, it’s just that his on another artistic level. His art is less about the vanity, the pretension, and all the hype around building a commercially viable project. Pepe and The Bandits is essentially a storyteller, a singer-songwriter who acutely observes the world through a conscious and focused lens. His writing cuts straight to the bone, and so too does the music.
Pepe and The Bandits – a singer-songwriter from the UK, has released quite a bit of music to date. So it’s no longer a matter of proving anything, and along the way he has shown a nonchalant disregard for convention, which makes following his various musical offerings consistently interesting.
His latest single, ‘Beautiful’, actually belongs to a three-song set. The other two songs are, ‘YAYHA’, which has an African flavor, and the instrumental ‘Tootey Flutey’, which tends toward a world music template.
From the opening notes of ‘Beautiful’, there is no denying that Pepe and The Bandits has become an accomplished, confident songwriter who follows his muse without a care for propriety or convention.
Lightly skittering percussion underscores the loud guitar notes in the foreground of the sonic spectrum, while the warm shimmering keyboards remain just a little behind. Somewhere in-between, sits the voice of Pepe and The Bandits, as he unfolds his deeply perceptive narrative rather candidly.
“The song ‘Beautiful’ is about how not everyone can be beautiful, how not everyone can be number one and how we all cope with that,” explains Pepe and The Bandits. “I wrote it a few months back after using Instagram one night and thinking how vain and shallow all the posts were,” he concluded. Certainly, the singer-songwriter’s chosen topic in this single couldn’t be more timely.
The worst thing to do when you’re feeling insecure or vulnerable is to scroll through something like Instagram. Everyone looks super happy and super successful all the time. Ultimately, it’s our own problem, because we don’t seem to be able to understand what Instagram and most socials really are – global boasting journals.
Pepe and The Bandits has unraveled the mystery and lays bare all of the platform’s hype-filled atrocities, and the worst traits of humankind, all told with a cutting sarcastic twist.
On ‘Beautiful’, Pepe and The Bandits demonstrate how what was once sharing, has now become bragging, and the dire consequences of such behavior. His sensitive demeanor provides relatable context to a subject that has been growing more alarming in recent times.
Musically, there is a lovely melodic simplicity to the overall sound that’s charming and intriguing. I highly recommend this single to those looking to get into Pepe and The Bandits music or anyone who enjoys a nice alternative and independent, music listening session, with substance and meaning.