Gogol Bordello – [Album]

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

It certainly took the rest of the world long enough to catch on to what many punk rockers already knew: Gogol Bordello is one of the best new (if one can call going strong for eleven years 'new') bands on the circuit right now. Punk rockers (lots of 'em – if not all of 'em) have known this since Gypsy Punks: Underground World Strike! hit like a dead-blow hammer in 2006 and, in so doing, suddenly made it okay to ave long hair in the pit, not have a distortion pedal anywhere on the stage and surf on a kick drum over a crowd of ecstatic fans on a nightly basis. Thank you Eugene Hütz!

So now that the band is in the limelight in partnership with a major label conglomerate, what does said conglomerate plan to do in order to improve the band's visibility? What could they do that an independent punk label (SideOneDummy – for the clueless) and the band not do themselves?

If you can believe it, they found a way.

As soon as 'Pala Tute” begins to crank the gears on Trans-Continental Hustle, listeners will the enormous size of the sound that is springing forth. Did the band add more members and more instruments after the success of Super Taranta!? Nope – they're simply backed by Rick Rubin, the perfect producer for Gogol Bordello. Under Rubin's supervision, singer/guitarist Eugene Hütz, violinist Sergey Ryabtsev, accordionist Yuri Lemeshev, guitarist Oren Kaplan, bassist Thomas Gobena, emcee Pedro Erazo and drummer Oliver Charles absolutely explode out of speakers as they fill every sector of the aural spectrum with sound. In this case, Rubin's production proves to be something of a secret weapon; each instrument is articulated perfectly and has its own space in the arrangement, with the right speakers and EQ, listeners will feel as if they're right in the room – encircled by the band.  Hütz jumps right in their faces on songs like “Immagranadia (We Comin' Rougher),” “Raise The Knowledge,” “Last One Goes The Hope” and “My Companjera” – encouraged and incited by the other players – and listeners can do nothing more than get the urge to dance or run for cover; it is just that infectious and potent.

Now you're thinking, “Dude, I already knew all these things. That's Gogol Bordello – are you just catching on now?”

Nope, there's more. After the first few songs set the uproarious and manic tone, get fans moving and show the uninitiated what they're in for, Gogol Bordello immediately branches out and starts changing the game on them. Elements of reggae creep into “Raise The Knowledge,” while flamenco guitar sets fire to “To Rise Above” and the band even tries its hand at a ballad on “When Universes Collide” to give the already internationally staffed band a worldly flavor and complete the spell that will have anyone and everyone hooked. The funny thing is that none of these things (other than Rubin's production and the ballad) are particularly new directions, but they come off as such because Rubin's production matches the band's electrifying performance.

All that said, and continuing to extoll the virtues of Trans-Continental Hustle as a phenomenal record for Gogol Bordello seems like it would be redundant. There are no dramatic changes to the band's sound here exactly, but this might be the record that breaks Gogol Bordello onto a whole new level – beyond necessarily just appealing to a punk rock audience. How? Why? All the pieces fell into place just right here, and found Gogol Bordello hitting each song perfectly without even trying. Go buy this record – you'll thank me.



Gogol Bordello – “Pala Tute” – Trans-Continental Hustle


Trans-Continental Hustle
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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