By: Lauren Garbutt (@LaurenGarbutt1) –
Gypsy punk rockers Gogol Bordello are back with the release of their sixth studio album, Pura Vida Conspiracy. While it’s not a far departure from previous material, this 12-song collection introduces a number of new influences and portrays a sense of reflection and introspection that was not as obvious on previous records.
While pulling in musical influences internationally from Eastern Europe to South America to America’s old west, Gogol Bordello has crafted an album worthy of a good listen. From the mandolin on “Dig Deep Enough” to the mariachi stylings on “Malandrino”, there is no shortage of interesting arrangements, yet they all still contain the band’s relentless energy and usual set up including accordion and fiddle.
With the opening track, “We Rise Again”, the album bursts into a rallying, fast-paced melody in typical Gogol Bordello fashion.
Most of the songs are catchy, upbeat and inspiring and in need of a sing-along such as on “Lost Innocent World”, whose introduction draws inspiration from America’s gun slinging old west. Another catchy tune is “Malandrino” which has enigmatic Ukrainian born frontman Eugene Hütz reminiscing about when he was born. It’s a catchy song that quickly escalates into a rowdy chorus of “I was born with singing heart”.
Many of the lyrics surround the topics of life, death, love and personal freedom such as on “Amen”, “The Other Side of the Rainbow” and the mellowed out, “I Just Realized”.
“It’s The Way You Name Your Ship” is another well-written track which highlights that sense of introspection. Focusing on change, pulling yourself up and how ultimately, you decide the course of your life, Hütz tellingly sings, “It’s the way you name your ship, that’s the way its gonna row”. The track is notable for it’s likeness to a sea shanty, as visions of ships and sailors abound.
The closing track, “We Shall Sail”, which at first is a slow-paced acoustic song containing the lyrics “cause nothing in this life is good or bad, it is we who dress it up as happy or sad”, which serves as the takeaway message of this album. This is followed by a few minutes of silence, and then a sudden heavy, head-banging conclusion introduces the hidden track “Jealous Sister”, featuring hard-hitting drums, strings, and a killer guitar solo. A fitting closure to a solid album.
Pura Vida Conspiracy is nothing you wouldn’t expect from the travelling gypsy circus that is Gogol Bordello. It’s a great party and you would be hard pressed to find another band that manages to successfully intertwine so many styles of music in such a fun manner. While this album isn’t as full of frenzied, rowdy punk rock songs as previous albums, it maintains the classic inspiring and energetic Gogol Bordello feel that is bound to have fans, new and old, moving at live performances.
Essential Tracks: “We Shall Sail”, “Malandrino”, and “It’s The Way You Name Your Ship”.