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Hear New Delhi Rock Band Moongphali’s Ecstatic Debut Album ‘Charchebaazi’

The Hindi rockers talk about Hornbill and the stories that inform their songs

Anurag Tagat Jan 04, 2019

New Delhi rock band Moongphali. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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Returning from the Hornbill International Rock Contest in Nagaland, rock band Moongphali says the competition was stiff (Bengaluru rockers Perfect Strangers took the top prize), but call the trip an “eye opener.” The band says, “Both the judges and audience want us to come back next year and win a title. They were singing along for the most part of our songs. It felt like conquering a new world.”

They were armed with their debut album Charchebaazi, which released in November and features yet another refreshing take on the somewhat maligned genre space called Hindi rock. It’s found its footing now thanks to the runaway success of New Delhi band The Local Train. Now, their fellow bands want to bring the same emotive energy in both, lyrics and sound. The seven-track Charchebaazi ties together prog, funk, groove rock and pop all into a rollercoaster pace, over verses about everything from societal ills (“Behtareen”), self-worth and love (“Laparwah Yeh Dil”) to satirical takes on boastfulness (“Tumse Na Ho Payi”) and relationships (“Pyaar Ek Dhokha Hai”).

The band, who came together in 2015, says their ideas for lyrics comes from classically trained vocalist Soham Mallick, who also holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics. It turns out Hindi is Mallick’s third language, something he honed only after moving to New Delhi in 2011. The writing process, according to the band, is likened to “reverse calculation.” Mallick comes up with sounds that go with the riffs and melody structure built by the band, which turn into lyrics and the main concept. Completed by Joel Lepcha on lead guitars, Salil Mehrotra on bass, and Naman Datta on drums, Moongphali have their diversity on show throughout Charchebaazi, whether it’s blazing solos on the title track or playful riffage to match the lightheartedness of “Pyaar Ek Dhokha Hai” and a shimmering edge to their ballad “Laapata.”

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The band, however, considers their first composition and exuberant debut single “Jee Aao” as their favorite. Datta says about the album, “Each song from the album portrays a story that unfolds along with the music. A visual connect betters the entire experience for our listeners. We plan to release a video for each song of the album; ”˜Jee Aao’ was just the beginning.”

Listen to ”˜Charchebaazi’ below.

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