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Hear The Riot Peddlers’ Long-Awaited New Record ‘Strength In Dumbers’

The five-track EP comes seven years after their debut ‘Sakarsm,’ showcasing more dissonance and punk intensity

Anurag Tagat Jan 27, 2020

Mumbai punk trio The Riot Peddlers. Photo: Naman Saraiya

For Arun Singh Ravi, frontman of punk trio The Riot Peddlers, it’s a good sign that even a decade after screaming on stage about a lot of what might be considered touchy subjects for Indian independent artists, they’re still going.

Now releasing their new EP Strength in Dumbers, Ravi says, “All three members of the band are still alive even after telling Bollywood to suck our dicks making fun of the police for accepting bribes/saying that the media is controlled and feeding us lies/saying that religion is the plague of our nation and is only serving to divide us… among other things. We’re definitely taking this ahead!”

In the time between Strength in Dumbers and their 2012 EP Sarkarsm, The Riot Peddlers have been somewhat active but punk and hardcore music has advanced too. Bands like False Flag, Punk On Toast, Death By Fungi and Pacifist perhaps picked up when The Riot Peddlers – Ravi, bassist Animesh Das and erstwhile drummer Ashwin Dutt – couldn’t commit much time to it. With Dutt leaving the band and Dhruv Sarker stepping in mid-2019, The Riot Peddlers called on producer-guitarist Apurv Agrawal to complete the five-track, 11-minute EP.

Sarker is a close friend of Ravi’s for over a decade and a Riot Peddlers fan, which meant it was a “no-brainer” for him to join. The rankling EP opens with “Therapist,” showcasing a refreshingly heavier sound with double-tracked guitars, while “Your Love Songs” is takedown of fascism, terrorist and even the international banking system. Featuring growls from bassist Das, “Untitled” is the trio at their chaotic, moshpit-mobilizing best with more takedowns of society’s two-facedness. There’s a lighter side to the lyrics on “Insects Attack” which echoes classic punk melodies, plus peak irreverence on the punitive “Muslim Dudes on Bikes.”

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The frontman says that as much as punk bands are perceived to have free license to write songs like “Muslim Dudes on Bikes,” he hopes it’s not a genre-restrictive trait in music. He explains, “I feel like other people who aren’t in punk bands should also sing about the truth (the way they see it) without having to censor themselves because of pressure from society. There are no filters, unless the intention is pure malice – which for us is not the case.”

Their first show following the release of Strength in Dumbers is at crowdfunded festival Control ALT Delete in Mumbai, between February 1st and 2nd, with more shows in the pipeline. Ravi adds that despite the decade they’ve been active and growing up (and growing old), being part of the punk music movement in India has been great. “Starting out as the only band that played this kind of music, talking to people about the genre and seeing it evolve has been amazing. There are so many great punk bands out there now and we’re glad that we are part of something bigger with such amazing people,” he says.

Listen to the EP below and stream it on Spotify here.


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