Gogol Bordello — Trans-Continental Hustle
Gogol Bordello keeps getting more attention without pandering to mainstream tastes, and two of the latest ears the New York City-based group made stand up belong to record executive and mega-successful producer Rick Rubin, who was at the studio controls for this record and released it on Tuesday through his American Recordings label.
The band's fifth studio album, the follow-up to 2007's Super Taranta! (and last year's Live From Axis Mundi DVD), opens with lead single "Pala Tute." It's an effervescent track and continues the expansion of the gypsy punk sound that Gogol Bordello first made a name for itself with.
The nine-piece band fronted by Eugene Hutz is exploring the world musically and makes audible stops in eastern Europe, Brazil, Jamaica, the U.S. and elsewhere on this 13-track record. "Sun Is On My Side" and "When Universes Collide" both start with gentle acoustic guitar before they gradually pick up, while "Immigraniada (We Comin' Rougher)" is essentially a punk song with a great guitar tone and angry, sloganeering lyrics.
Reggae is thrown into the mix on "Raise The Knowledge" and "Last One Goes The Hope" on the second half of the album, which is where things particularly pick up steam for me. "In The Meantime In Pernambuco" dares you not to dance, and that's a challenge you're bound to lose.
The socio-political card is thrown down hard on the final two songs, "Break The Spell" (about discrimination against the Roma people) and the title track, which promotes racial cross-pollination.I was a bit concerned that Rubin would temper Gogol Bordello's all-over-the-map approach to its music, but Hutz and his cohorts were given the freedom to roam like the people who are still commonly (though ignorantly) referred to as gypsies.