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Exclusive Premiere: Diarchy’s Thundering New Album ‘Splitfire’

The Bengaluru/Hyderabad duo’s latest sheds light on the importance of resistance and detailed songwriting

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Anurag Tagat Mar 26, 2020

Diarchy's Gaurav Tiwari and Prakash Rawat (from left). Photo: Krishna Aditya

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A day before its official release, Bengaluru incendiary stoner rock duo Diarchy’s new album Splitfire is streaming below. Drummer and lyricist Gaurav Tiwari and guitarist-vocalist Prakash Rawat (who also ends up turning his guitar into a bass at shows) have clearly steadied their aim compared to their 2017 debut Here Lost We Lie.

Tiwari says about the thematic and sonic growth of the band, “The first album just yelled at the system. This one is actually wanting to get up and do something on our own.” Across nine songs, there’s a “spectrum of emotions and moods.” Working with Bengaluru producer Sridhar Varadarajan, Diarchy say they were afforded the luxury of focusing just on making and recording the music because they worked with Unherd, the new alternative record label launched by Ramakrishnan Krishnan aka Bantering Ram in Bengaluru. Rawat adds, “With Unherd, we probably started working harder. Ram had proper timelines. It still got pushed, but with the label coming in, it helped us finish.”

Splitfire sees Diarchy amp up their songwriting to become more detailed, evocative storytellers. Rawat says, “We wanted to add layers on this album, but with the previous album, it was about mirroring our best live performance. This was about writing the best you can and then figuring out how to play it live.” Akin to pulling the pin on a grenade and tossing it in the air, songs like “Kamal Hossen” (a cheeky political takedown whose title translates into ‘Lotus Pants’ from Hindi and German), “Gone Too Late,” “Badger” and “Sunny Side Up” are seismic and even feature chilling premonitions about violence and indoctrination.

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Stream ‘Splitfire’ below.

Instrumental tracks like “Home” and “Kranti” (featuring a poignant voice sample from journalist Ravish Kumar) point to Diarchy’s continued influence from the likes of psychedelic rock band Colour Haze, stoner band Kyuss and bluesy psych band Clutch, amongst others. Rawat says his favorite on the album, if he had to pick one, is “Kranti,” just for how the song unfolds. “From vulnerability, the song progresses and it’s actual resistance and protest. What Ravish says in that snippet also resonates – you know that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, but you can’t not protest,” the guitarist-vocalist says.

Guests on Splitfire include Mumbai guitarist Ashish Dharkar (from doom band Dirge and post-hardcore band Pacifist) ripping out a solo on “Gone Too Late” but also the curiously quiet closer “Best Way Out Is Always Through.” Tiwari notes, “The song is, I like to say, that Diarchy has written but hasn’t featured in.” Featuring sparse guitars by Varadarajan, a group of voices echo on about hope in the midst of a war – led by Vats Iyengar (from prog band Rainburn), Diarchy’s manager and graphic illustrator Anoop Bhat and Unherd’s Ram. Tiwari adds, “Imagine a handful of soldiers, tired and hurt after a day on the battlefield, spending a night in the trenches. They know fully well that they’re fighting a battle they’re eventually going to lose the very next day. Out of hopelessness, one of them starts singing and everyone else joins in. It’s about hope even in the darkest hour.”

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Pre-order the album here. Buy the physical CD and more merch here.

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